A common question that patients have is whether a rotator cuff injury can get better without surgery.

What is the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons around the shoulder that provide strength and control. These four muscles start at the scapula and wrap around the shoulder, allowing a full range of motion, power, and stability. This incredible structure, however, is prone to injuries.

Types of Rotator Cuff Injuries

  1. Tendinopathy: Mild injury with fraying and inflammation of the tendon.
  2. Partial Thickness Tears: A small portion of the tendon is torn, but most of it remains intact.
  3. Full Thickness Tears: The tendon is completely torn through. These can be:
    • Non-retracted Tears: The tendon edges are still close together.
    • Retracted Tears: The tendon ends are pulled apart.

Do All Rotator Cuff Injuries Require Surgery?

No, not all rotator cuff injuries require surgery:

  • Tendinopathy: Often treated with physical therapy or rest. Prolotherapy or PRP treatment may be considered if needed.
  • Partial Thickness Tears: Most cases (about 80%) improve with physical therapy. If necessary, regenerative medicine treatments like platelet-rich plasma can be used.
  • Full Thickness Tears:
    • Non-retracted Tears: Physical therapy can help 75% of people avoid surgery. Treatments with bone marrow-derived stem cells mixed with fat cells can be effective.
    • Retracted Tears: Surgery is often required. After surgical repair, there’s a high risk of re-tearing (25-75%). Augmenting with bone marrow-derived stem cells can help strengthen the tendon and prevent recurrence.


Rotator cuff injuries can be very painful, but there are many conservative treatments available that can often work before considering surgery.

Shoulder Instability and Rotator Cuff Injuries

Stem Cell Treatment- Shoulder Rotator Cuff Tear

See how we treat rotator cuff tendinitis with bone marrow concentrate stem cells.