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Long-Term Outcome After Structural Failure of Rotator Cuff Repairs
Bernhard Jost, MD1; Matthias Zumstein, MD1; Christian W.A. Pfirrmann, MD1; Christian Gerber, MD1
1 Department of Orthopedics (B.J., M.Z., and C.G.) and Division of Radiology (C.W.A.P.), University of Zurich, Balgrist, Forchstrasse 340, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail address for C. Gerber: christian.gerber@balgrist.ch
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The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research for 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.
Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopedics and Division of Radiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2006 Mar 01;88(3):472-479. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.E.00003
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Background: In a previous study, twenty consecutive patients with a rerupture of the rotator cuff, as documented with magnetic resonance imaging, were found to have significantly less pain and better function and strength, compared with the preoperative state, at 3.2 years postoperatively. It was the purpose of this study to determine the clinical and structural outcomes of these reruptures in the same twenty patients after a longer period of follow-up.

Methods: At a mean of 7.6 years postoperatively, the twenty patients were reexamined clinically and with standard radiographs and magnetic resonance imaging with use of the same clinical, radiographic, and magnetic resonance imaging criteria as were utilized in the review at 3.2 years. The mean age at the time of final follow-up was sixty-six years.

Results: Nineteen of the twenty patients continued to be either very satisfied or satisfied with the outcome. The relative Constant score averaged 88% and was not significantly different from the score at 3.2 years, which averaged 83%. The mean scores for pain, function, and strength also had not changed significantly. Overall, the twenty reruptures had not increased in size, and eight of them had healed structurally at the time of the 7.6-year follow-up. Seven of these eight reruptures had been of the supraspinatus tendon only, and seven had been smaller than 400 mm2 at 3.2 years. Twelve reruptures persisted, and five were larger than the preoperative tear. Fatty infiltration of the infraspinatus muscle progressed significantly (p = 0.015) and the acromiohumeral distance decreased significantly (p = 0.006) between the two follow-up periods. Neither fatty infiltration of the supraspinatus and subscapularis muscles nor glenohumeral osteoarthritis progressed significantly.

Conclusions: At an average of 7.6 years, the clinical outcomes after structural failure of rotator cuff repairs remained significantly improved over the preoperative state in terms of pain, function, strength, and patient satisfaction. Overall, the reruptures that had been present at 3.2 years did not increase in size. We also found that reruptures of the supraspinatus that had been smaller than 400 mm2 had the potential to heal.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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