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Strengthening the Rotator Cuff After Fatty Infiltration

When rotator cuff surgery is needed, the surgeon has to take into consideration whether or not fatty infiltration has occurred. Ideally, the surgeon can perform the surgery at an early enough stage—before fatty infiltration becomes an issue.

What is fatty infiltration? Sometimes, when the rotator cuff tendons have significantly pulled away from the bone where they have been attached, fat infiltrates the muscular portions, resulting in weakened muscles. Although the surgeon will take this into account when performing a repair, weakness can remain even after the rotator cuff has been repaired.
Fortunately, with successful surgery, the process of fatty infiltration does not generally progress any further. While the previous changes are irreversible, the addition of physical therapy can be critical to rebuild strength in the muscles. Since there is also no clear understanding of how fatty infiltration prior to surgery may affect the healing and surgical outcomes, it is even more important to start physical therapy soon after surgery.
We can help in a number of ways that go beyond just improving movement after you have experienced fatty infiltration. Your individualized physical therapy program can help to

  • relieve pain and swelling
  • teach techniques you can perform at home
  • prevent pain and injury recurrence
  • develop a progressive strength-training routine

Through personal attention and collaboration, we can provide you with numerous exercises after rotator cuff surgery. Together, we can devise a long-term plan to provide positive postsurgical results. When physical therapy is included after fatty infiltration and rotator cuff repair, long-term outcomes are more likely to be optimistic.

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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