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Rotator Cuff Arthropathy

Rotator cuff arthropathy can significantly affect day to day activities due to restricted range of motion and pain. Prior to recommending any treatment, Dr. Ong will carefully evaluate your condition and perform all necessary tests.

Book Appointment

Rotator Cuff Arthropathy

Rotator cuff arthropathy can significantly affect day to day activities due to restricted range of motion and pain. Prior to recommending any treatment, Dr. Ong will carefully evaluate your condition and perform all necessary tests.

Book Appointment

What Is the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulder joint, securing the upper arm bone to the shallow socket of the shoulder blade. This provides stability and mobility to your shoulders.

Symptoms of an RCA

The common symptoms of an RCA include:

  • Sharp pain when you move or rotate your arm
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Shoulder and arm weakness
  • Swelling around the shoulder
  • Tenderness in the shoulder or arm
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What is a Rotator Cuff Arthropathy (RCA)?

A rotator cuff arthropathy (RCA) is a degenerative condition where shoulder arthritis develops on top of an untreated rotator cuff tear. The untreated rotator cuff may tear further, significantly destabilising the shoulder. A torn rotator cuff can arise from an injury or natural weakening due to ageing.

How Is an RCA Diagnosed?

A physical examination is conducted to test your shoulder and arm’s range of motion and detect any pain, swelling or stiffness.

Imaging tools such as x-rays can show signs of arthritis and rotator cuff damage. Abnormal positioning of the joints and bones can also signal a rotator cuff tear. However, your shoulder specialist may further perform ultrasound or MRI scans to have a clearer view of your rotator cuff if the x-ray results are insufficient to determine the cause of RCA.

How Can an RCA Be Treated?

Similar to other types of shoulder injuries, RCA can be treated via non-surgical and surgical methods.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Non-surgical treatment is used to alleviate pain and increase shoulder mobility.

Common methods include:

  • Physiotherapy. Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises (as recommended by a specialist)
  • Apply ice, then heat. Applying a cold compress on your affected shoulder can reduce inflammation and swelling. When the swelling has improved, a hot pack can be applied to the same area for about 20 minutes to relax sore muscles and promote blood flow.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications. Aspirin, ibuprofen or steroids can relieve pain temporarily.

Surgical Treatment

Surgical methods are generally recommended when non-surgical remedies are insufficient in reducing pain and improving shoulder mobility.

The surgical removal of inflamed tissues and bone spurs may be performed to reduce pain. However, this may not necessarily improve the mobility and function of the shoulder.

As such, shoulder replacement surgeries are usually done for RCA patients. A traditional shoulder replacement surgery uses a standard shoulder implant for treatment. However, it is only partially effective as the artificial shoulder still requires a properly functioning rotator cuff to work correctly. Hence, the shoulder joints may still be misaligned, resulting in the socket portion of the implant wearing out easily.

Instead, a reverse shoulder replacement surgery is becoming a more popular option as it uses a special type of implant that mimics the function of a rotator cuff by placing a ball within the shoulder socket to form a new socket at the humerus. Hence, a properly functioning rotator cuff is unnecessary for this type of implant and can last longer without loosening.

Why Do Patients Choose Dr Ong Kee Leong?

  • Dr. Ong Is Passionate In Sports, Giving Him A Deep Understanding Of Sports-Related Injuries And How They Can Be Treated
  • Personalised And Professional Approach To Deliver High-Quality Orthopaedic Care Based On The Most Up-To-Date Literature
  • Detailed Aftercare Plan To Ensure Smooth, Long-Term Recovery
  • Fellowship Trained Surgeon With 15 Years Of Experience In Orthopaedic Conditions
  • Problem-Oriented, Well-Organised and Individualized Treatment Plans Catered To Your Specific Needs
  • Specialist In The Management Of Sports Injuries And Degenerative Conditions Of The Shoulder And Knee Joints
  • Knowledgeable And Pleasant Clinical Staff To Assist You With Your Every Need Detailed Aftercare Plan To Ensure
  • Our Care Is Conveniently Accessible At Mount Elizabeth Novena and Farrer Park Hospital
  • Minimal Waiting Time For Initial Consultation
  • Assistance With Medical Claims (e.g. Medisave & Integrated Shield Plans)

“At our clinic, we generally try to explore non-surgical treatment such as activities modification, physiotherapy and orthotics before recommending invasive intervention options.”

Dr. Ong Kee Leong

About Dr. Ong Kee Leong

Senior Consultant, MBBS (Singapore), MMed (Ortho), FRCSEd (Ortho)

Dr. Ong Kee Leong is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon. He subspecializes in shoulder and knee, foot and ankle, hand wrist and elbow surgeries, arthroscopic sports surgery, and the management of sports-related injuries.

He has been registered with the Singapore Medical Council as a specialist in Orthopaedic Surgery since 2011.

  • MBBS, National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Medicine 2001
  • Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 2007
  • Master of Medicine in Orthopaedic Surgery (NUS) 2007
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Orthopaedic Surgery 2011
  • Health Manpower Development Plan (HMDP) Scholarship, Ministry of Health 2012-2013:
  • Sports Surgery and Arthroscopy in Germany (Hannover)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Lee Kong Chian School Of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University
  • Senior Clinical Lecturer, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS
Awards & Teaching
  • Dr. Ong had received numerous awards such as Best Service and Eastern Health Alliance Caring (Gold) Awards.
  • He also has an interest in clinical research and has written papers in multiple peer-review journals. As a Core Faculty of Singhealth Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program, he oversees the training of junior orthopaedic surgeons.
  • Regularly invited to teach local and regional surgeons in Shoulder and Knee Surgery Courses.
  • He is a recipient of multiple teaching awards including the Singhealth Residency Outstanding Faculty Awards from 2014-2016 and Changi General Hospital Outstanding Educator Awards 2015-2016.

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    Billing & Payment

    Consultation fees are charged based on length of consultation, and start from SGD$150 (within 30 minutes).

    Modes of Payment

    We accept the following modes of payment:

    • Cash
    • PayNow & PayLah
    • All major Credit Cards

    If you are insured and would like to use a Letter of Guarantee (LOG) from the major insurers in Singapore, please contact us and our friendly clinic staff will assist you and provide more information if required.

    Can I Claim Through My Medisave Account? (For Singaporeans and PR)

    Yes, you can. Our Clinic is an accredited day surgery clinic by the Ministry of Health. Singaporeans and Permanent Residents may use their Medisave for eligible orthopaedic inpatient procedures and hospitalizations.

    The exact amount would depend on the complexity of the procedure. If you have any enquiries, feel free to speak to our friendly clinic staff about using your Medisave account.

    Integrated Shield Plans (Singaporeans and PRs)

    Yes, patients who have purchased Integrated Shield plans with riders for co-insurance and deductibles will be able to use them in our clinic for eligible procedures. For more information, contact us to find out if your procedure is claimable.

    The 6 Approved Integrated Shield Insurers are:

    • NTUC Income’s IncomeShield and Enhanced IncomeShield
    • American International Assurance International Co’s (AIA) HealthShield Gold
    • Great Eastern Life Assurance Co’s SupremeHealth and SupremeHealth Plus
    • Aviva Ltd’s MyShield
    • Prudential Assurance Co’s PRUShield
    • AXA Shield
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