Rehab after a unique shoulder surgery; beyond predictors of outcome

April 19, 2008

Rotator Cuff Rehab after a unique shoulder surgery with beyond predictors of outcome.

Sally Skurdahl, PT

I chose this b/c when I searched
for stuff on the internet after initially evaluating this client,  I didn’t come up w/ much.
Maybe this can help people! I found it unique in that the rehab and integrative manual therapy resulted in an outcome that was beyond what is usually expected.

Topic: latissimus dorsi transfer to repair torn rotator cuff
I had the pleasure of evaluating and treating my first patient s/p
latissimus dorsi transfer this year and wanted to comment on the success of
this surgery.  My patient came to me after having arthroscopic shoulder
surgery without success to repair his torn rotator cuff. His surgeon then
decided to try a procedure in which he detaches the latissimus dorsi muscle
from its proximal attachment and splits it into strands to reattach in the
rotator cuff muscle attachments. I searched for literature re: the rehab
after this procedure and came up w/ nothing.  This patient had about 10
degrees of active range of motion and hardly any strength. With persistence
and patience we have increased ROM to near full and allowed him to throw a
football to his son pain free for the first time in 3 years!  Rehab for this
particular patient included Integrative Manual Therapy, joint and soft
tissue mobilizations, graded exercise including functional and weight
bearing stability exercises.  In addition, the progress was made possible
through a consistent home exercise regime by the patient.



  1. Hi Sally,

    This new technique sounds like it could help quite a few people who suffer from rotator cuff injuries. I’d like to know more about how the patient supplemented his shoulder rehab by performing exercises at home. What exercises did he do and what kinds of equipment did he use?

    Great article!

  2. I am about to have this procedure and you are right there is no real information about what to expect

  3. Please me more information on this latissimus dorsi transfer to repair torn rotator cuff. I have had 4 rotator cuff surgeries, 3 in the last 5 years. But with no success and now I have a massive irreparable cuff. I am 58 yrs old, fairly active (golf, classic cars, yard, etc) but my ROM has definitely deceased lately.

    My primary question is what is the normal recovery time frame to getting back to my above mentioned activities?

    Thanks, WB

  4. I think I can answer your ques. I just had this surgery done Nov 24th 2009. you need to allow yourself from one to two yrs. of complete recovery and a lot hard work. I had rotator-cuff surgery in Nov.2008 and it didn’t take. I am doing quite well according to my P.t. I have resumed back to my running as a month ago. It was hard at first, but today it fells good. I finally can lift a 1lb. wt in my left hand(it’s a start) I hope this helps
    ask any other q’s if you need too and have a good day. G.L.

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