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Arthroscopic repair of massive rotator cuff tears: A prospective cohort with 2- to 4-year follow-up

      Abstract

      Purpose: The goal of this study is to report on the complete arthroscopic repair of massive rotator cuff tears. Type of Study: Prospective cohort study. Methods: Between 1997 and 1999, 37 patients underwent complete arthroscopic repair of massive rotator cuff tears. The preoperative and postoperative outcomes of these 37 patients were analyzed using the constant score, American Shoulder and Elbow Society (ASES) index, visual analog pain scale (VAS), a single question of percent function compared with the opposite unaffected extremity, and a single question reflecting satisfaction (Would you undergo the surgery and the postoperative rehabilitation to achieve the result you have today?). The null hypothesis that was tested was that there was no difference between the preoperative and postoperative outcomes. The 37 patients were divided, by cohort design, into 2 groups; massive anterosuperior (AS; subscapularis, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus with or without the teres minor) and massive posterosuperior (PS; supraspinatus and infraspinatus, with or without the teres minor) tears. Additionally, the null hypothesis that there was no difference between outcomes for massive AS and massive PS subgroups was tested. Results: There was no statistically significant difference between either subset of massive rotator cuff tears with respect to preoperative and postoperative outcomes. The null hypothesis was supported for between groups. All but 2 patients said that they would undergo surgery again to achieve the postoperative state. Conclusions: The arthroscopic repair of massive rotator cuff tears is effective for decreasing pain and improving the functional status of the shoulder for most patients. Complete coverage was achieved in 78% of the patients at the time of surgery. A subset of patients who did not have complete coverage or coverage at a second setting showed similar outcomes as those with full coverage. The patient satisfaction rate was 95%.
      Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery, Vol 19, No 4 (April), 2003: pp 380–390

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