A new study has revealed that delayed rotator cuff repair may increase the risk of revision surgery later on. The research, carried out by the Hospital for Special Surgery, discovered waiting more than 12 months for the surgery, significantly increased the risk of revision surgery.
Here, we’ll look at what the latest study revealed and the importance of faster rotator cuff repair surgery.
Rotator cuff repair study
The latest study included 2,759 patients, split into three groups. The first group included 57.4% of the patients who underwent early rotator cuff repair within 6 weeks. The second group was made up of 40% of patients who had a routine repair within 6 weeks and 12 months. Then the final group of 5.3% had delayed treatment after 12 months.
After a five-year follow up, there was a total revision rate across all patient groups of 9.6%. However, it was patients in the delayed group who required the most revision procedures. Patients who underwent a delayed rotator cuff repair experienced a revision rate of 15.2%. Patients in the routine group had a revision rate of 8.3% and those in the early group had a revision rate of 9.9%.
The results of the study show that rotator cuff repair surgery would be safest carried out within 6 weeks to 12 months. It also clearly highlights the risks of delayed surgery.
What is rotator cuff repair?
A rotator cuff repair is a type of surgery which aims to repair a torn tendon within the shoulder. The rotator cuff is made up of tendons and muscles which ultimately protect the shoulder joint. Over time, the tendons can tear whether due to overuse or because of an injury.
The majority of patients are placed under general anaesthetic when they undergo a rotator cuff repair. It can be carried out using an open or an arthroscopy technique. During the procedure, the surgeon reattaches the tendons to the bone, typically using small rivets.
What other treatments are used for rotator cuff injuries?
Although surgery is considered the best course of treatment for a rotator cuff repair, there are other options available. If the tear is minor, patients may be able to undergo physical therapy and other non-surgical treatments.
Like with any type of injury, it’s important to let the shoulder rest when it is injured. So, if you do have a rotator cuff tear, try and rest up as much as possible. Physical therapy tends to be the best form of non-surgical treatment. A physiotherapist will teach you shoulder strengthening exercises that relieve pain and increase mobility.
Before deciding upon a treatment plan, it is important to address the severity of the tear. There are different levels of rotator cuff injuries and yours will affect the treatment you need to undergo. So, if you suspect you have a rotator cuff injury, book a consultation with a shoulder specialist to determine the best course of treatment.