Fifty consecutive patients completed standardized questionnaires regarding general health status as well as function of the shoulder before and an average of thirteen months after arthroscopic repair of a full-thickness tear of the rotator cuff. Comparison of the preoperative and postoperative responses to the questions demonstrated highly significant improvements in the patient's assessment both of general health and of function of the shoulder. The Short Form-36 (SF-36) General Health Survey revealed significant improvements in the most recent follow-up scores compared with the preoperative scores with regard to physical functioning (p = 0.0001), role-physical (p = 0.0001), bodily pain (p = 0.0001), vitality (p = 0.0001), social functioning (p = 0.0001), role-emotional (p = 0.006), mental health (p = 0.0213), and physical component summary (p = 0.0001). The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Shoulder Score, the Constant Shoulder Score, and the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) Shoulder Index showed significant improvements in all postoperative total and component scores (p = 0.0001). Most importantly, all three shoulder-rating systems demonstrated significant improvements in the postoperative scores for pain and function (p = 0.0001).While a general health status instrument such as the SF-36 can document the impact of an orthopaedic condition on a patient as well as the results of treatment, a more complete representation of the patient's condition requires the use of region-specific self-assessment questionnaires and evaluation by a physician.