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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2011 Jan;20(1):57-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2010.06.011. Epub 2010 Oct 15.

Relationship between self-reported shoulder function/quality of life, body mass index, and other contributing factors in patients awaiting rotator cuff repair surgery.

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Section of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Manitoba; Pan Am Clinic, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.



We hypothesized that body mass index (BMI) would be negatively associated with self-reported shoulder function/pain. A second objective was to investigate the significance of other potential contributing factors: age, sex, smoking status, tear size, and workers' compensation (WC) involvement.


In this retrospective cohort study, consecutive patients who underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery between 2002 and 2007 were reviewed. Preoperative American Shoulder and Elbow Society (ASES) and Simple Shoulder Test (SST) scores were compared with regard to age, sex, height, weight, smoking status, WC status, and rotator cuff tear size.


Fifty-four patients were enrolled in this study. At a level of significance of P < .05, BMI showed no correlation with preoperative SST or ASES scores. WC status was negatively correlated with ASES scores. Female sex, WC status, and smoking were each negatively correlated with SST scores. The regression model predictive of preoperative SST scores included sex, WC status, and smoking status. WC status was predictive of ASES scores.


To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine BMI as a contributing factor in the magnitude of pain and level of function in patients with chronic rotator cuff tears. Our data suggest that there is no impact of BMI on function/pain. The inter-relationships between factors such as BMI, sex, age, and others are complex, and further study is needed to fully establish that there is no effect.


Our hypothesis that BMI is negatively related to magnitude of pain/level of function was not supported. Factors found to be related were sex, WC involvement, and smoking.

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