October 17, 2014
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Rotator cuff repair may ease shoulder pain from spinal cord injury

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Although they are likely to continue to overburden their shoulders, recently published data suggest patients in wheelchairs due to a spinal cord injury may gain pain relief from rotator cuff repair.

Researchers clinically and functionally evaluated 38 patients with a spinal cord injury who were either paraplegic or quadriplegic and presented with rotator cuff pathologies between January 2005 and September 2013. Patients’ lesions were also examined.

A total of 38 shoulders in 28 patients were indicated for rotator cuff repair, which was then performed. Intraoperative lesion assessment showed more substantial injuries than were indicated via imaging.

Pain was present in 63 of the symptomatic shoulders, functional impairment in 45 and limited range of motion in 23. Mean pain intensity ratings at rest were 0 and 1.6, respectively, in the operative and nonoperative cohorts and 2 and 4.9, respectively, in those same cohorts at paroxysmal peaks, according to the researchers.

Satisfactory infraspinatus resistance was observed in 36 operative and 17 nonoperative shoulders. Functional Independence Measure value decreased by an average of 2.3 in the surgical cohort.

No negative results were reported when surgical indications were based on a multidisciplinary decision, according to the researchers.

Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.