Rotator cuff repair in spinal cord injury patients

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2003 Jul-Aug;12(4):327-32. doi: 10.1016/s1058-2746(03)00035-1.


Previous studies on the treatment of rotator cuff tears in wheelchair-bound patients have concentrated on nonsurgical management. We conducted a retrospective review to determine the effectiveness of surgical repair of rotator cuff tears in spinal cord-injured patients. Five male patients with rotator cuff tears confirmed by physical examination and magnetic resonance imaging underwent rotator cuff repair. Two of eight shoulders were revisions. The patients were evaluated postoperatively with the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Scoring System. These results were compared with preoperative functional assessment. Patients were given a subjective questionnaire to assess their overall experience. Postoperative range of motion improved in 6 of 8 shoulders. Strength was increased in 6 of 8 shoulders. Patients reported satisfaction with the results in 7 of 8 shoulders, and all 5 patients would recommend the procedure to other spinal cord injury patients. At recent follow-up, 7 of 8 shoulders returned to their preinjury level of function. Surgery for spinal cord injury patients with rotator cuff tears can improve their functional capability and autonomy while reducing their pain. Compliance with the demanding postoperative rehabilitation is essential; therefore proper patient selection is crucial for optimal results.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Reoperation
  • Rotation
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries*
  • Rupture
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Treatment Outcome