Until the final diagnosis is made, your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and rest to relieve symptoms. Rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles may also be recommended. If these conservative measures are insufficient, your physician may recommend arthroscopic surgery.
During arthroscopic surgery, the doctor will examine the rim and the biceps tendon. If the injury is confined to the rim itself, without involving the tendon, the shoulder is still stable. The surgeon will remove the torn flap and correct any other associated problems. If the tear extends into the biceps tendon or if the tendon is detached, the shoulder is unstable. The surgeon will need to repair and reattach the tendon using absorbable tacks, wires, or sutures.
Tears below the middle of the socket are also associated with shoulder instability. The surgeon will reattach the ligament and tighten the shoulder socket by folding over and "pleating" the tissues.
After surgery, you will need to keep your shoulder in a sling for 3 to 4 weeks. Your physician will also prescribe gentle, passive, pain-free range-of-motion exercises. When the sling is removed, you will need to do motion and flexibility exercises and gradually start to strengthen your biceps. Athletes can usually begin doing sport-specific exercises 6 weeks after surgery, although it will be 3 to 4 months before the shoulder is fully healed.