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Rotator cuff disease can have a progressive natural history of increasing tear size and worsening function. It remains unknown whether rotator cuff repair alters this natural history.A systematic review of the intermediate to long-term (minimum 5-year) results of operative rotator cuff repair and no repair of rotator cuff injuries was performed to compare (1) patient-based outcomes, (2) future surgical intervention, (3) future tear progression or recurrence, and (4) tear size. The no-repair group included both conservative treatment and surgical treatment without repair. After the application of selection criteria, 29 studies with 1,583 patients remained. Meta-regression was conducted to adjust for baseline age, sex, tear size, and duration of follow-up.Comparison of the repair and no-repair groups revealed no significant differences in terms of age (p = 0.36), sex (p = 0.88), study level of evidence (p = 0.86), or Coleman methodology score (p = 0.8). The duration of follow-up was significantly longer for the no-repair group (p = 0.004), whereas baseline tear size was significantly larger in the repair group (p = 0.014). The percentage of patients requiring additional surgery was significantly higher in the no-repair group after adjustment for age, sex, duration of follow-up, and tear size (9.5% higher in estimated means between groups [95% confidence interval, 2.1% to 17%]; p = 0.012). The likelihood of a recurrent defect (repair group) or extension of the prior tear (no-repair group) was not different between groups after adjustment for age, sex, duration of follow-up, and tear size (p = 0.4). There were no differences between the repair and no-repair groups in terms of the Constant score after adjustment for age, sex, duration of follow-up, and tear size (p = 0.31). The final tear size was significantly larger in the no-repair group than the repair group (967 mm2 higher in estimated means between groups [95% confidence interval, 771 to 1,164 mm2]; p < 0.001).At intermediate to long-term follow-up, rotator cuff repair was associated with decreased final tear size and decreased need for future surgery after adjusting for age, sex, duration of follow-up, and tear size. The likelihood of a recurrent defect after rotator cuff repair did not differ from that of tear extension after nonoperative treatment. Thus, rotator cuff repair may not alter natural history.Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.