Descriptive Report of Shoulder Range of Motion and Rotational Strength 6 and 12 Weeks Following Rotator Cuff Repair Using a Mini-Open Deltoid Splitting Technique

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Abstract

Study Design:

Retrospective chart review.

Objectives:

To measure short-term postsurgery glenohumeral internal rotation and external rotation strength, shoulder range of motion (ROM), and subjective self-report ratings following mini-open rotator cuff repair of full-thickness rotator cuff tears.

Background:

Physical therapists provide rehabilitation for patients following mini-open rotator cuff repair. Long-term outcome studies have reported a high percentage of good and excellent results following surgery; however, little has been published regarding the immediate short-term results of this procedure, during which the patient is under the direct care of the physical therapist.

Materials and Methods:

Charts from 11 female and 26 male patients, with a mean ± SD age of 57.3 ± 9.9 years, were reviewed following rotator cuff repair, using an arthroscopically assisted mini-open deltoid-splitting approach. All patients underwent postsurgery rehabilitation by the same therapist using a standard protocol. Retrospective chart review was used to obtain descriptive profiles of shoulder joint ROM at 6 and 12 weeks postsurgery and isokinetically assessed shoulder strength at 12 weeks postsurgery.

Results:

For the postsurgical shoulder, ROM deficits ranging between 5° to 7° were measured for shoulder abduction and external rotation and internal rotation at 90° of abduction. The postsurgical extremity had greater flexion ROM (9°) compared to the contralateral side. Isokinetic external rotation strength deficits of 5% to 7% were present at 12 weeks postsurgery, with 2% to 11% greater internal rotation shoulder strength on the operative extremity, when compared to the other side. Patients completed the self-report section of the modified American Shoulder Elbow Surgeons (ASES) Rating Scale at 12 weeks postsurgery and scored a mean of 38.7/45.0 points.

Conclusion:

The application of early ROM and progressive strengthening following mini-open rotator cuff repair allows for the successful return of ROM and strength 12 weeks postsurgery. The results of this study provide objective data for both shoulder ROM and strength at time points during which patients are traditionally receiving physical therapy following surgery. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2006;36(5):326-335. doi:10.2519/jospt.2006.2191

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