Authors: J.C. Esch

References: J Bone Joint Surg Br Orthopaedic Proceedings, 2005 87-B: 274

This study was designed to evaluate the results of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair at a minimum follow-up of 2 years.

Only isolated full-thickness rotator cuff tears were included in the study. Of 63 cases that met the criteria, 51 were followed up. Results were measured with pre-operative and postoperative UCLA shoulder scores, Western Ontario Rotator Cuff (WORC)© scores, range of motion, strength and radiographs. The time to recovery and return to work, complications and patient satisfaction were also recorded. Data from various tear sizes were analysed to determine significant differences.

At the most recent follow-up, all patients had less pain and better function. Patients rated 48 shoulders (94%) satisfactory. Mean forward flexion was 170.4° and mean manual strength was 4.8/5. Significant strength differences in flexion and external rotation were found between various sizes of tear (p < 0.01). Mean UCLA scores for all tear sizes significantly improved from a preoperative 10.3 (±2.4) to a postoperative 32.1 (±4.3). The mean for small tears was 35, for medium tears 33.3 and for large tears 30. This difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Excellent postoperative UCLA scores were achieved in 26 shoulders (51%) and good results in 17 (33%), with seven shoulders (14%) fair and one (2%) poor. The mean overall WORC© score was 86.8% (±17.1) of normal. The mean time to recovery was 5.1 months.

Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair has good results and can be done on an outpatient basis with few complications. The results appear to depend on the tear size.


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