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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2006 May-Jun;15(3):290-9.

Cuff integrity after arthroscopic versus open rotator cuff repair: a prospective study.

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  • 1Columbus Bone, Joint & Hand Surgeons, Inc, Columbus, OH, USA.


Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (RCR) has been reported to have good clinical results but high retear rates by ultrasound. We prospectively assessed postoperative cuff integrity and outcome after arthroscopic RCR (40 patients) and compared these results with open RCR (32 patients). Evaluation preoperatively and at 1 year included a physical examination and magnetic resonance imaging. American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons and Constant scores improved significantly in both groups (P < .0001). Overall, 69% of repairs in the open group and 53% in the arthroscopic group were intact by magnetic resonance imaging. Of tears less than 3 cm in size, 74% in the open group and 84% in the arthroscopic group were intact. Of tears greater than 3 cm in size, 62% in the open group and 24% in the arthroscopic group were intact (P < .036). In the arthroscopic group, patients with an intact cuff had significantly greater strength of elevation (P = .01) and external rotation (P = .02). We conclude that open and arthroscopic RCRs have similar clinical outcomes. Cuff integrity is comparable for small tears, but large tears have twice the retear rate after arthroscopic repair.

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