Repair of full-thickness rotator cuff tears in professional baseball players

Am J Sports Med. 2006 Feb;34(2):182-9. doi: 10.1177/0363546505279916. Epub 2005 Oct 31.

Abstract

Background: Despite the relative frequency of partial-thickness rotator cuff tears seen in baseball players, full-thickness rotator cuff tears in baseball players are uncommon.

Hypothesis: Return to competitive baseball is difficult after surgical treatment of a full-thickness rotator cuff tear.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: We evaluated the results of 16 professional baseball players after a mini-open repair of a full-thickness rotator cuff tear. Twelve patients were pitchers with injury to their dominant shoulders. Four patients were position players; 2 had injuries involving their dominant shoulders, and 2 had injuries to their nondominant shoulders.

Results: At a mean follow-up of 66.6 months for the pitchers, only 1 player (8%) was able to return to a high competitive level of baseball with no significant shoulder dysfunction after mini-open repair of a full-thickness rotator cuff tear. Of the 2 position players with mini-open repairs of the full-thickness rotator cuff tear of their dominant shoulders, 1 was able to return to professional baseball. Of the 2 position players with mini-open repairs of the full-thickness rotator cuff tear of their nondominant shoulders, both were able to return to professional baseball at the same or higher level.

Conclusion: It is very difficult for a professional baseball pitcher to return to a competitive level of pitching after a full-thickness rotator cuff repair with a mini-open approach.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Baseball / injuries*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery*
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries*
  • Shoulder Joint / injuries
  • Shoulder Joint / surgery
  • Tendon Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Tendon Injuries / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome