Comprehensive shoulder care to meet every need.
When you have a specific shoulder injury or condition, it is important to seek the care of a specialist. At Beacon Orthopaedics, we believe that the best care is provided by physicians who sub-specialize.
Hear and read true stories of my patients and their experiences with Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. An injury or chronic shoulder condition isn't the end. We'll work together to reduce your pain and improve your function.
Your Shoulder Team
Meet the physician extenders, medical assistants, and schedulers that will guide you through recovery. My team is hand-picked and designed specifically to give you the best experience and fastest recovery we can.
Resources and Blog
Not quite ready to see a doctor? Are you curious about preventative care techniques and recommendations? Or, if you simply want a better understanding of who I am and my approach to shoulder care, my blog should be helpful.
About Dr. Robert Rolf
Robert Rolf, MD is a native of Cincinnati and a graduate of La Salle High School. He attended the University of Notre Dame where he received a BS in Chemical Engineering. After working as a Sales Engineer for two years, he returned to Cincinnati to study at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
Dr. Rolf completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He continued his training as a shoulder and elbow specialist at the Boston Shoulder Institute at Harvard under the guidance of Jon JP Warner, MD; Larry Higgins, MD; and Tom Holovacs, MD. He is not only board certified in Orthopaedic Surgery, but also has his Specialty Certificate in Sports Medicine.
Throughout his fellowship he received extensive training in advanced arthroscopic techniques for shoulder instability and rotator cuff tears. He also received a world class experience in complex shoulder reconstructive procedures including tendon transfers, shoulder replacement, and reverse shoulder replacement procedures. In addition, he has a strong interest in sports medicine as well as fracture management.
Dr. Rolf is the Co-Director of the Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine sports medicine fellowship program. This unique and highly competitive fellowship offers training to surgeons throughout the country about sports medicine and shoulder surgery.
When not at work, he stays busy with his four active children. His only saving grace is that his twins like the same sports!
"Dr. Rolf is very good. He listens attentively, seems genuinely concerned and makes sure he addresses all of your concerns. He has done a great job of caring for my needs. The surgery went great and my recovery is going well." - Pamela F.
Shoulder Treatment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Shoulder Arthritis?
Arthritis is a common disease that affects the shoulder, causing joint pain, stiffness and swelling. When a person gets arthritis, they lose cartilage or the cushion in the joint. Cartilage allows the joint to glide easily during motion. When cartilage wears, there is bone on bone rubbing which can be painful. In addition, the joint becomes inflamed and there is usually a restriction of motion.
How is Shoulder Arthritis diagnosed?
Many patients will complain of a deep ache that can radiate to the lateral arm. The pain usually gets worse with movement or activity. With time, there may even be pain at rest and eventually, patients will awaken at night with shoulder pain. Patients will complain of grinding and difficulty with motion. In the office, a physician will diagnose arthritis through a thorough physical exam and taking the proper x-rays.
What is Shoulder Replacement Surgery?
In total shoulder replacement, the damaged surfaces of the humeral head and glenoid socket are resurfaced with metal and plastic implants. The humeral head is replaced with a metal component and the glenoid socket is replaced with a polyethylene component that is glued in with bone cement. When both sides of the shoulder are replaced, it is called a total shoulder replacement. When only the humeral head is replaced, it is called a shoulder hemiarthroplasty or a partial shoulder replacement.
Why should I consider Shoulder Replacement Surgery?
Shoulder replacement surgery should be performed to alleviate pain and improve function. It is an excellent option for patients that have failed other conservative measures such as physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication.
What are some of the differences between Total Shoulder Replacement and Reverse Shoulder Replacement surgery?
A traditional total shoulder replacement matches natural shoulder anatomy. A reverse shoulder replacement inverts the natural anatomy of the ball and socket. Patients with joint damage but healthy surrounding tendons and muscles are often better candidates for traditional total shoulder replacements. When the tendons on top of the shoulder joint, often called the rotator cuff, are damaged, a reverse total shoulder replacement may be the best option. Following surgery, the inverted ball and socket joint can be moved using the deltoid.
What is the difference between a chronic torn rotator cuff and acute tear?
Do both require surgery?
An acute rotator cuff tear is a tear that occurs after an injury. There is usually sudden pain in the shoulder accompanied by limited movement and weakness. A chronic tear is a tear that is greater than 6 to 12 weeks old. They usually involve the dominant arm and gradually worsen. People may develop weakness. There are many functioning patients with chronic tears. At sixty, fifty percent of asymptomatic patients would have a partial thickness rotator cuff tear if they had an MRI. At 80, fifty percent of patients would have a full thickness tear (all the way through). Chronic tears usually require surgery if the patient has persistent pain or weakness despite 6-12 weeks of physical therapy. Most acute rotator cuff tears or tears in young patients should be fixed surgically.
Do you have to repair a torn bicep even if it was injured months ago?
The biceps is a muscle on the front of the shoulder that allows a person to flex and supinate the elbow. It has two muscle bellies, the long head of the biceps that inserts on the labrum at the top of the shoulder socket and the short head of the biceps that inserts on the front of the scapula at its coracoid. At the elbow, the bicep muscle bellies merge into one tendon that inserts into the radius. Surgery is typically recommended when it is the dominant arm and the patient’s job requires significant use of the arm. Surgery is not always recommended for ruptures that occur near the shoulder at the long head of the biceps. Most people respond well to physical therapy.
I don’t want surgery but I can’t lift my arm, would therapy help relieve the pain?
There are many reasons a person may have pain in the shoulder and not all of them need to be treated surgically. Most shoulder ailments improve with physical therapy. It is helpful to have a thorough physical exam so that physical therapy can be guided appropriately. Sometimes, a platelet rich plasma (PRP) or steroid injection can be helpful.
Dr. Robert Rolf currently sees patients at Beacon West on Harrison Avenue, Summit Woods in Sharonville, Beacon at the Cincinnati Sports Club on Red Bank, Beacon NKY in Erlanger, and Beacon Batesville in Indiana.
His Physician Assistant, Lee Reynolds, sees patients at the Beacon West office and Batesville office. His Nurse Practioner, Brian Burger sees patients at the Summit Woods, Beacon West, and Cincinnati Sports Club offices.
Ready to find out more? Schedule an appointment today!
Schedule an introductory consultation with Dr. Rolf to find out how to best return to the activities you love. By clicking this button, you can schedule online in real time!
Interested in seeing Dr. Rolf, but the Harrison Avenue location isn't convenient for you? Fortunately, Dr. Rolf now sees patients at the Sharonville location of Beacon Orthopaedics on Friday mornings!
Physical Therapy Protocols
Below you will find a list of physical therapy protocols that can be followed after having a procedure performed by Dr. Rolf. These are intended to provide guidelines of progression in recovery. They include weight bearing status, ranges of motion, use of a brace, exercises or stretches, and other information.
AC Reconstruction – Protocols for shoulder surgery
Achilles Repair – Protocols for ankle surgery
ACL Hamstring Tendon Autograft – Protocols for knee surgery
Arthroscopic Shoulder Capsular Release – Protocols for shoulder surgery
Arthroscopic Labral Repair – Protocols for shoulder surgery
Arthroscopic Partial Medial or Lateral Meniscectomy – Protocols for knee surgery
Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair – Protocols for shoulder surgery
Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression – Protocols for shoulder surgery
Anterior Stabilization – Protocols for shoulder surgery
DENOVO – Protocols for knee surgery
Distal Biceps Repair – Protocols for elbow surgery
Hemiarthroplasty for Proximal Humerus Fractures – Protocols for shoulder surgery
Interval Throwing Program – Protocols for shoulder surgery
Latarjet – Protocols for shoulder surgery
Lateral Epicondylitis Release – Protocols for elbow surgery
LCL Reconstruction – Protocol for knee surgery
MCL Repair with MPFL Repair – Protocol for knee surgery
Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Repair – Protocol for knee surgery
Meniscal Repair – Protocol for knee surgery
Nonoperative Management of Proximal Humerus Fractures – Protocol for shoulder fracture
ORIF Proximal Humerus Fracture – Protocol for shoulder surgery
Proximal Hamstring Repair – Protocol for hip surgery
Quadricep Tendon Rupture – Protocol for knee surgery
Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty – Protocol for shoulder surgery
Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty with Latissimus Dorsi Transfer – Protocol for shoulder surgery
Superior/Anterior Labral “SLAP” Repair – Protocol for shoulder surgery
Subpectoral Biceps Tenodesis – Protocol for shoulder surgery
Total Knee Replacement – Protocols for knee surgery
Total Shoulder and Hemiarthroplasty – Protocols for shoulder surgery
Pectoralis Transfer – Protocols for shoulder surgery
Patellar Fracture with ORIF – Protocols for knee surgery
Professional Organization Memberships and Affiliations
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ohio State Medical Association
Arthroscopy Association of North America
Ohio Orthopaedic Society
Codman Shoulder Society
Dr. Rolf also belongs to the Emory Orthopedics Kelly Society and Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society.