Healed cuff repairs impart normal shoulder scores in those 65 years of age and older

Edward V. Fehringer, Junfeng Sun, Jonathon Cotton, Michael J. Carlson, Erica M. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: It is unclear whether repaired rotator cuffs heal in older patients and whether the function in those shoulders compares with those of similarly aged patients with untreated tears. Questions/Purpose: We questioned whether, in patients 65 years of age and older, shoulders with rotator cuff repairs that remained intact would have Simple Shoulder Test (SST) scores and Constant scores similar to those of untreated individuals with intact rotator cuffs. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 39 patients (42 shoulders) 65 years of age and older in whom 42 full-thickness rotator cuff tears were repaired with a mini open technique. All patients completed SST and Constant scores 12 to 60 months postoperatively; all patients also had ultrasound at those times to assess the status of the repair. These findings were compared with 200 untreated similarly aged shoulders assessed in the same fashion. Results: Shoulders with healed repairs (33 of 42) had similar mean SST scores and Constant scores to those in untreated shoulders with intact rotator cuffs. Those with healed repairs also had higher SST and Constant scores than those with unhealed repairs. Finally, shoulders with healed repairs had higher SST and Constant scores than those with untreated tears. Conclusions: When rotator cuffs healed the function was comparable to that of similarly-aged patients without tears and better than that of patients with untreated tears. Level of Evidence: Level III, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1521-1525
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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