Functional and Anatomical Results After Rotator Cuff Repair

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The anatomic condition of the rotator cuff and the functional results obtained were studied in a homogeneous series of 100 full thickness cuff tears in 98 patients with an average followup of 4 years. Constant's functional score, used by the European Society for Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, was done pre-operatively and postoperatively in each patient, in addition to ultrasonography at followup. There was a close correlation between the anatomic condition of the cuff and Constant's functional score before surgery (p = 0.0063) and after repair, irrespective of the type of tear repaired (p = 0.0012) or the sono-graphic appearance of the cuff at followup (p = 0.0001). Ultrasonography showed 65% intact cuffs, 11 % intact but thinned cuffs, and 24% recurrent defects. Three predisposing factors for recurrence were noted: size of tear to be repaired (p = 0.0001) accounted for 57%, age (p = 0.063) for 25%, and degree of occupational use for 18%. The functional results obtained were more related to the anatomic condition of the repaired cuff at followup than to the tear size at surgery. Predictive clinical factors for recurrence included overall Constant's functional score, reduced ability to perform daily activities, reduced active flexion, abduction and external rotation, and loss of muscular strength. Constant's functional score reflected the functional results with accuracy, reliability, and reproducibility. Additional ultrasonography appears necessary to specify the exact size of the recurrent defect and to distinguish between certain anatomic types, such as thinned cuffs, which can give rise to difficult problems in manual workers after defect repair.

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