Q: My sister has been suggested surgery of the right shoulder. The MRI scanning of her shoulder reveals the following: fluid signal involving the tendinous insertion of supratendinous muscle suggestive of rotator cuff tear with retraction of myotendinous junction. Fluid is also noted in superior fibres of infraspinatus and subcoracoid bursa.There is a fluid in glenohumeral joint, subacromial and subdeltoid bursa and also along the biceps tendon. Can surgery be avoided and can she be cured with yoga?
— Kusum Budhiraja via email
A: Rotator cuff [RC] tears usually require corrective surgery, especially in chronic cases, since healing in most cases treated conservatively is not impressive. However, in a majority of cases, a pre-operation physiotherapy/rehabilitation is recommended; I would suggest the same for your sister.
She can be re-evaluated for her symptoms during the course of the rehab. If the signs and symptoms alleviate, surgery can be avoided. RC tears, if not treated in time, might cause some loss in range of movement [ROM]. With surgery/physiotherapy, we reduce this risk of loss of ROM.
As of now, I would certainly not recommend any form of yoga. Yoga can be effective once the symptoms ease out for strengthening the muscles. It can also be used as part of the post-op rehab.
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