The rotator cuff is a set of four muscles (with the respective tendons: subscapular, supraspinatus, subspinatus and small round) that contribute to the movement of the shoulder joint and keep the joint between the scapula and humerus stable. The tendons wrap the head of the humerus like a headset and allow the arm to move.

The rotator cuff can break, a frequent injury in athletes who, for example, play throwing sports such as tennis and volleyball, but also in certain professional categories, and more generally in all cases where the arm is forced to make certain movements.

Professor Alessandro Castagna, Head of Shoulder and Elbow Orthopedics at Humanitas, spoke about this topic in an interview with Tg2 Medicina 33.


Tendon rupture

“These tendons have a bad habit of wear and tear, unfortunately this happens very frequently for traumatic reasons. Tendons can experience a partial lesion, which often evolves into total rupture; a single tendon may be involved, but these single-tendon lesions can expand to become bi-tendon or complex,” explains the specialist.


When should surgery be performed?

It is considered useful to surgically intervene at a younger age, such as “In the 50-year-old subject, with a small and symptomatic lesion, since that lesion will almost certainly evolve into a lesion that can no longer be treated; on the other hand, in a patient at a later stage in life, with reduced physical activity, physiotherapy and physical treatment can be a good option”, concludes Prof. Castagna.

To find out what surgical options are available, see the full service of Tg2 Medicina 33 of 18 April, starting from minute 00.55: