Rotator cuff surgery helps even with tears

UPI—March 3, 2009

Even if tears recur, patients with rotator cuff repair surgery had long-term benefits, U.S. researchers said.

Researchers report that patients had less pain and more function than they did before surgery - even when recurrent defects occurred over time. The researchers also found the recurrent tears grew in size, but remained painless and did not affect function. None of the patients had needed further treatment or surgery and none experienced any persistent shoulder pain.

The study, was presented at the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine Specialty Day in Las Vegas, evaluated a group of 15 patients approximately eight years after they received rotator cuff repair.

"We initially tested the patients at three years after their surgery and found that those with a recurrence of a tear were doing well," study lead author Dr. Christopher Dodson of Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City said in a statement. "The study analyzed whether having the original surgery produced any long-term benefits for the patient."

After completing four assessment surveys, 11 patients were re-examined with ultrasound testing. The researchers found those with recurrent rotator cuff defects were still better off than they were before the surgery in terms of pain, function and strength.

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