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Using Quality of Life to Measure Results of Rotator Cuff Repair

In this study, Canadian orthopedic surgeons report on the results of two different surgical techniques for tears of the rotator cuff. Patients who were included all had a full-thickness tear (complete rupture). The two procedures compared were:

  • standard open acromioplasty with rotator cuff repair (open)
  • arthroscopic acromioplasty with mini-open rotator cuff repair (scope mini-open)

    Acromioplasty refers to the removal or shaving of the acromion. The acromion is a piece of bone that curves over the top of the shoulder. It is part of the shoulder blade. Removing some of this bone helps take the pressure off the rotator cuff. This part of the procedure is called a decompression.

    In theory, the mini-open method of rotator cuff repair involves a shorter hospital stay (less cost) and fewer complications (less soft tissue disrupted). But studies done so far have not shown a big difference between using the mini-open procedure versus the standard open operation. It is expected that with better surgical technique, results will improve.

    Quality of life (QOL) measures were used in this study to compare the results of these two surgical approaches. Two different tests of QOL were given to patients before and after surgery. Follow up was for two years. Patients completed the test at three, six, 12, and 24 months post-operatively. Shoulder pain, motion, and function were also tested and compared.

    The results showed improved QOL with the mini-open for the first three months. But there was no difference in any measures between the two groups at the one-year or two-year follow-up visit. The authors say that the early difference was probably because the mini-open procedure was less invasive.

    Nicholas G. Mohtadi, MD, FRCSC, et al. A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Open to Arthroscopic Acromioplasty with Mini-Open Rotator Cuff Repairs for Full-Thickness Rotator Cuff Tears. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. June 2008. Vol. 36. No. 6. Pp. 1043-1051.


    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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