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Repairs of the rotator cuff. Correlation of functional results with integrity of the cuff

Authors: DT Harryman, LA Mack, KY Wang, SE Jackins, ML Richardson and FA Matsen

References: J Bone and Joint Surg. 73(7):982-989, 1991

Abstract
We evaluated the results of 105 operative repairs of tears of the rotator cuff of the shoulder in eighty-nine patients at an average of five years postoperatively. We correlated the functional result with the integrity of the cuff, as determined by ultrasonography. Eighty per cent of the repairs of a tear involving only the supraspinatus tendon were intact at the time of the most recent follow-up, while more than 50 per cent of the repairs of a tear involving more than the supraspinatus tendon had a recurrent defect. Older patients and patients in whom a larger tear had been repaired had a greater prevalence of recurrent defects. At the time of the most recent follow-up, most of the patients were more comfortable and were satisfied with the result of the repair, even when they had sonographic evidence of a recurrent defect. The shoulders in which the repaired cuff was intact at the time of follow-up had better function during activities of daily living and a better range of active flexion (129 +/- 20 degrees compared with 71 +/- 41 degrees) compared with the shoulders that had a large recurrent defect. Similar correlations were noted for the range of active external and internal rotation and for strength of flexion, abduction, and internal rotation. In the shoulders in which the cuff was not intact, the degree of functional loss was related to the size of the recurrent defect.

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