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Bone Joint J. 2015 Sep;97-B(9):1257-63. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.97B9.35250.

Early mobilisation following mini-open rotator cuff repair: a randomised control trial.

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University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Covenant Health, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


This study compared the clinical outcomes following mini-open rotator cuff repair (MORCR) between early mobilisation and usual care, involving initial immobilisation. In total, 189 patients with radiologically-confirmed full-thickness rotator cuff tears underwent MORCR and were randomised to either early mobilisation (n = 97) or standard rehabilitation (n = 92) groups. Patients were assessed at six weeks and three, six, 12 and 24 months post-operatively. Six-week range of movement comparisons demonstrated significantly increased abduction (p = 0.002) and scapular plane elevation (p = 0.006) in the early mobilisation group, an effect which was not detectable at three months (p > 0.51) or afterwards. At 24 months post-operatively, patients who performed pain-free, early active mobilisation for activities of daily living showed no difference in clinical outcomes from patients immobilised for six weeks following MORCR. We suggest that the choice of rehabilitation regime following MORCR may be left to the discretion of the patient and the treating surgeon.


rotator cuff repair; shoulder; rehabilitation; range of movement

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