Background: Patients with rotator cuff tears often recall a specific initiating event (traumatic), whereas many cannot (nontraumatic). It is unclear how important a history of trauma is to the outcomes of rotator cuff repair.
Methods: This question was addressed in a study cohort of 1300 consecutive patients who completed a preoperative questionnaire regarding their shoulder injury and had a systematic evaluation of shoulder range of motion and strength, a primary arthroscopic rotator cuff repair performed by a single surgeon, an ultrasound scan, and the same subjective and objective measurements made of their shoulder 6 months after surgery. Post hoc, this cohort was separated into 2 groups: those who reported no history of trauma on presentation (n = 489) and those with a history of traumatic injury (n = 811).
Results: The retear rate in the group with no history of trauma was 12%, whereas that of the group with a history of trauma was 14% (P = .36). Those patients with a history of shoulder trauma who waited longer than 24 months had higher retear rates (20%) than those who had their surgery earlier (13%) (P = .040).
Conclusion: Recollection of a traumatic initiating event had little effect on the outcome of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Duration of symptoms was important in predicting retears if patients recalled a specific initiating event but not in patients who did not recall any specific initiating event. Patients with a history of trauma should be encouraged to have their rotator cuff tear repaired within 2 years.
Keywords: Shoulder; injury; muscle injuries; retear; rotator cuff; trauma.
Copyright © 2016 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.