Arthroscopic repair of full-thickness tears of the rotator cuff in patients under the age of 40 (SS-05)

      Recent reports document excellent outcomes with arthroscopic repair of rotator cuff tears (RCT). However, full-thickness RCT are uncommon in patients under age 40, and few reports document results after repair in this population. We report results of arthroscopic repair of full-thickness RCT in patients under 40. Materials and Methods: Twenty-three consecutive patients under age 40 with full-thickness RCT underwent arthroscopic repair with suture anchors. Mean age was 37 years (range 21–39). Mean size of RCT was 2.4 cm in largest dimension (range 1–4 cm). Mean number of anchors used was 2.5 (range 1–4). Concomitant procedures included subacromial decompression (22), distal clavicle resection (13), SLAP repair (2), biceps tenodesis (2), anterior capsulorrhaphy (1), and capsular releases (1). Twenty-two patients (95%) recalled a single incipient trauma; two patients sustained a dislocation. Ten patients (43%) claimed workers’ compensation (W/C). Mean follow-up was 15 months (range 12–18 months). Results: Mean preoperative ASES score was 42 (range 22–60); mean postoperative score was 92 (range 65–100; P < .01). Twenty-one patients (90%) returned to previous level of activity and employment, including 9 (90%) with W/C claims. All patients (100%) reported diminished pain and 22 (95%) reported improvement with activities of daily living. Complications included superficial wound infection (1) and axillary nerve palsy after initial dislocation (1). Twenty-two patients (95%) would have same procedure again. Discussion: Full-thickness RCT in patients under 40 appear to be traumatic in etiology. Successful repair returns patients to pre-injury level of function. These results support arthroscopic rotator cuff repair in young, active patients.