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Arthroscopy. 2012 May;28(5):720-7. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2011.11.022. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

The role of subacromial decompression in patients undergoing arthroscopic repair of full-thickness tears of the rotator cuff: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Division of Sports Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of arthroscopic repair of full-thickness rotator cuff tears with and without subacromial decompression.


We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (third quarter of 2011), Medline (1948 to week 1 of September 2011), and Embase (1980 to week 37 of 2011) for eligible randomized controlled trials. Two reviewers selected studies for inclusion, assessed methodologic quality, and extracted data. Pooled analyses were performed by use of a random effects and relative risk model with computation of 95% confidence intervals.


We included 4 randomized trials and 373 patients. Methodologic quality was variable as assessed by the CLEAR NPT (Checklist to Evaluate a Report of a Non-pharmacological Trial) tool. One trial showed that there was no difference in disease-specific quality of life (Western Ontario Rotator Cuff questionnaire) between the 2 treatment groups. A meta-analysis of shoulder-specific outcome measures (American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons or Constant scores) or the rate of reoperation between patients treated with subacromial decompression and those treated without it also showed no statistically significant differences.


On the basis of the currently available literature, there is no statistically significant difference in subjective outcome after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair with or without acromioplasty at intermediate follow-up.


Level I, systematic review of Level I studies.

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