Speed of Recovery After Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair


      The purpose of this study was to delineate the time taken to achieve maximum improvement (plateau of recovery) and the degree of recovery observed at various time points (speed of recovery) for pain and function following arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.


      An institutional shoulder surgery registry query identified 627 patients who underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair between 2006 and 2015. Measured ROM, patient satisfaction, and patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) were analyzed for pre-operative, 3-month, 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year intervals. Subgroup analysis was performed based on tear size using retraction grade and number of anchors used.


      As an entire group, the plateau of maximum recovery for pain, function, and motion occurred at 1 year. Satisfaction with surgery was > 96% at all time points. At 3 months, 74% of improvement in pain and 45-58% of functional improvement was realized. However, only 22% of elevation improvement was achieved (p<0.001). At 6 months, 89% of improvement in pain, 81-88% of functional improvement, and 78% of elevation improvement was achieved (p<0.001) (Table I). Larger tears had a slower speed of recovery for SANE scores, forward elevation, and external rotation (Table II). Smaller tears had higher motion and functional scores across all time points. Tear size did not influence pain levels (Tables III and IV).


      The plateau of maximum recovery following rotator cuff repair occurred at 1 year with high satisfaction rates at all time points. At 3-months, approximately 75% of pain relief and 50% of functional recovery can be expected. Larger tears have a slower speed of recovery.