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Recent publications suggest that arthroscopic and open rotator cuff repairs have had comparable clinical results, although each technique has distinct advantages and disadvantages. National hospital and ambulatory surgery databases were reviewed to identify practice patterns for rotator cuff repair.The rates of medical visits for rotator cuff pathology, and the rates of open and arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, were examined for the years 1996 and 2006 in the United States. The national incidence of rotator cuff repairs and related data were obtained from inpatient (National Hospital Discharge Survey, NHDS) and ambulatory surgery (National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery, NSAS) databases. These databases were queried with use of International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) procedure codes for arthroscopic (ICD-9 codes 83.63 and 80.21) and open (code 83.63 without code 80.21) rotator cuff repair. We also examined where the surgery was performed (inpatient versus ambulatory surgery center) and characteristics of the patients, including age, sex, and comorbidities.The unadjusted volume of all rotator cuff repairs increased 141% in the decade from 1996 to 2006. The unadjusted number of arthroscopic procedures increased by 600% while open repairs increased by only 34% during this time interval. There was a significant shift from inpatient to outpatient surgery (p < 0.001).The increase in national rates of rotator cuff repair over the last decade has been dramatic, particularly for arthroscopic assisted repair.