Should I have surgery to repair my rotator cuff?

Dear Ask The Doctor:  An MRI revealed a small tear of my rotator cuff. I am a seventeen year old baseball pitcher. My shoulder has hurt since I am 14 years old. I started seeing a physical therapist yesterday. I am very physically active. I would like to join the military one day if I am not a professional baseball player and want to be able to do all of the physical demands of basic training. Should I have surgery now, at 17? Thanks

Dear Patient:  Rotator cuff injuries usually respond well to conservative treatment as you are presently undergoing. Only severe injuries and those injuries that do not respond to conservative treatment require surgery.

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