The influence of cuff pathology on shoulder function after arthroscopic subacromial decompression: a 3- and 6-year follow-up study.

Authors: Hoe-Hansen CE, Palm L, Norlin R.

References: J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 1999 Nov-Dec;8(6):585-9.

In the literature operative management of rotator cuff ruptures in the shoulder varies, from tendon repair to debridement of the cuff lesion combined with subacromial decompression. This study was made to evaluate whether patients with intact rotator cuff differed from patients with rotator cuff ruptures regarding functional outcome after arthroscopic subacromial decompression. We performed a clinical review of 39 patients with subacromial impingement who all underwent arthroscopic subacromial decompression; no other surgery was performed. There were 13 patients with intact cuff, 13 patients with partial-thickness supraspinatus ruptures, and 13 patients with full-thickness supraspinatus ruptures < 2 cm. Selection was based solely on the status of the supraspinatus tendon. Patients with other pathologic conditions were excluded. Follow-up was performed after 3 and 6 years. The clinical evaluation was performed with the Constant score and the visual analog pain score. The 3- and 6-year follow-up (100% follow-up rate) revealed no significant difference between the groups regarding the Constant scores and the visual analog scale values. Also, no significant difference was seen among the 3 groups in active range of motion or strength, and the patients had no appreciable pain. We conclude that the functional outcome 6 years after arthroscopic subacromial decompression is not obviously related to the preoperative degree of cuff pathology, even if a total rupture of small size is present.


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