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Rotator Cuff Tears: Why Do We Repair Them?*
Gerald R. WilliamsJr., MD1; Charles A. RockwoodJr., MD2; Louis U. Bigliani, MD3; Joseph P. Iannotti, MD, PhD4; Walter Stanwood, MD3
1 Presbyterian Hospital, 39th and Market Streets, 1 Cupp Pavilion, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail address: gerald.williams@uphs.upenn.edu
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Texas Health Science Center, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78284
3 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Columbia University-Presbyterian Medical Center, 622 West 168th Street, PH-11th Floor, New York, NY 10032
4 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195
View Disclosures and Other Information
The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.
This report is based on a symposium presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Orthopaedic Association on June 14, 2003, in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2004 Dec 01;86(12):2764-2776
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Rotator cuff tears are among the most common conditions affecting the shoulder. Despite their ubiquity, however, there is substantial debate concerning their management. Partial and complete rotator cuff tears are known to occur with increasing frequency with increasing age in asymptomatic people1-3. The clinical results of rotator cuff repair in symptomatic patients who have been followed for as long as ten years are good to excellent in a high percentage of cases, even though rerupture of the cuff is known to occur 20% to 65% of the time4-7. Moreover, the presence of a massive, irreparable rotator cuff tear is not incompatible with good overhead function8. These observations have traditionally made clinical decision-making in the treatment of symptomatic rotator cuff tears difficult. Historically, treatment recommendations have included rehabilitation, surgical repair, subacromial decompression without repair, tendon transfers, and tendon substitution techniques6,8-21.
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