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Randomized Controlled Trial
, 21 (11), 1450-5

Prospective Randomized Study of Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair Using an Early Versus Delayed Postoperative Physical Therapy Protocol

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Randomized Controlled Trial

Prospective Randomized Study of Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair Using an Early Versus Delayed Postoperative Physical Therapy Protocol

Derek J Cuff et al. J Shoulder Elbow Surg.

Abstract

Background: This study evaluated patient outcomes and rotator cuff healing after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair using a postoperative physical therapy protocol with early passive motion compared with a delayed protocol that limited early passive motion.

Materials and methods: The study enrolled 68 patients (average age, 63.2 years) who met inclusion criteria. All patients had a full-thickness crescent-shaped tear of the supraspinatus that was repaired using a transosseous equivalent suture-bridge technique along with subacromial decompression. In the early group, 33 patients were randomized to passive elevation and rotation that began at postoperative day 2. In the delayed group, 35 patients began the same protocol at 6 weeks. Patients were monitored clinically for a minimum of 12 months, and rotator cuff healing was assessed using ultrasound imaging.

Results: Both groups had similar improvements in preoperative to postoperative American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons scores (early group: 43.9 to 91.9, P < .0001; delayed group: 41.0 to 92.8, P < .0001) and Simple Shoulder Test scores (early group: 5.5 to 11.1, P < .0001; delayed group: 5.1 to 11.1, P < .0001). There were no significant differences in patient satisfaction, rotator cuff healing, or range of motion between the early and delayed groups.

Conclusions: Patients in the early group and delayed group both demonstrated very similar outcomes and range of motion at 1 year. There was a slightly higher rotator cuff healing rate in the delayed passive range of motion group compared with the early passive range of motion group (91% vs 85%).

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