Does Increased Body Mass Index Influence Outcomes After Rotator Cuff Repair?

Arthroscopy. 2018 Mar;34(3):754-761. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2017.08.248. Epub 2017 Nov 2.


Purpose: To investigate the influence of pre-existing obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 30) on outcomes after rotator cuff repair surgery.

Methods: We collected data on adult patients who underwent surgical repair for symptomatic full-thickness rotator cuff tears confirmed by imaging between 2012 and 2015. The required follow-up was 3 years. At baseline and 6, 12, 24, and 36 months, the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score, Western Ontario Rotator Cuff index, and visual analog scale pain scores were collected. Complications were assessed by a chart review. Obesity was defined as BMI ≥ 30. Chi-square analysis and Student's t-test examined differences between categorical and continuous variables at baseline. Generalized estimating equations examined the effects of fixed factors on outcome variables longitudinally from baseline to 36 months.

Results: Thirty-nine percent of 213 subjects were obese (mean BMI = 29.2; range, 16-48; standard deviation, 5.8). There were no statistically significant differences between obese and nonobese subjects in other baseline characteristics. When controlling for covariates, obese subjects reported no differences in Western Ontario Rotator Cuff, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, or visual analog scale pain scores when compared with nonobese subjects at baseline and over 3 years from surgery. Although obese patients were more likely to have inpatient surgery, there was no difference in the incidence of postoperative complications.

Conclusions: Contrary to our hypothesis, obese participants who underwent rotator cuff repair reported no difference in functional outcome or pain scores compared with nonobese participants over 3 years. In addition, obesity was not associated with postoperative complications in this study. However, as we hypothesized, obese participants were more likely than nonobese participants to have repair in the inpatient setting.

Level of evidence: Level III, retrospective comparative study.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthroplasty / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty / methods
  • Arthroscopy / methods
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery*
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries / complications
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome