1) Is my rotator cuff tear old or new?
It is important to get some idea of how old your rotator cuff tear is. This can be determined from an MRI. The orthopedic surgeon is not going to be able to pinpoint an exact time the tear occurred but they can often make an assessment as to the chronicity of the tear. Older tears may be retracted with muscle atrophy. More acute or newer tears will not have those properties. The reason this is important is this can give you an idea about the causation of pain. If the tear appears to be very old but you have good function and your pain just recently began then the cuff might not be the source of your pain. This can help guide your decision to having a rotator cuff repair.
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