Analysis of rotator cuff repair trends in a large private insurance population

Arthroscopy. 2013 Apr;29(4):623-9. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2012.11.004. Epub 2013 Feb 1.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify current trends in open and arthroscopic surgical treatment of rotator cuff tears across sex, age, and region in the United States.

Methods: Using the PearlDiver Patient Record Database (PearlDiver, Fort Wayne, IN), a publicly available national database of insurance records, patients who underwent rotator cuff repair from 2004 through 2009 were identified. The number of open (CPT codes 23410, 23412, 23420) and arthroscopic (CPT code 29827) rotator cuff repairs were quantified in isolation and in combination with acromioplasty (CPT codes 23415, 29826). The type of procedure, date, sex, and region of the country was identified for each patient. Trend tests (χ(2) and Cochran-Armitage) were used to determine statistical significance.

Results: There were 151,866 rotator cuff repair procedures identified in the database from 2004 through 2009, which represented an incidence of 13.6 for every 1,000 patients assigned an orthopaedic International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) or Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code. Male patients accounted for 60% of the repairs and female patients for 40%. There were 98,174 arthroscopic cuff repairs (65%) and 53,692 open repairs (35%). The annual percentage of arthroscopic cases increased from 48.8% in 2004 to 74.3% in 2009, whereas the percentage of open cases decreased from 51.2% in 2004 to 25.7% in 2009 (P < .0001). Acromioplasty was also performed in 47.3% of cases, and the rate showed only a slight increase (from 46.6% to 47.8%) between 2004 and 2009 (P < .01). All regions of the United States showed similar surgical trends and trends for sex and age distributions.

Conclusions: Our analysis shows that the majority of rotator cuff repairs in the United States are now performed arthroscopically (>74%) and there has been a recent steady decline in performance of open rotator cuff repair. Concomitant acromioplasty is performed approximately half the time, and this trend is increasing slightly. These findings were consistent across age, sex, and region in the United States.

Level of evidence: IV, cross-sectional study.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthroscopy / trends
  • Child
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthopedic Procedures / statistics & numerical data
  • Orthopedic Procedures / trends*
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery*
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Tendon Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Tendon Injuries / surgery
  • United States
  • Young Adult