More than 35% of workers with rotator cuff tears do not return to previous work level
According to published results, greater than 35% of patients who undergo rotator cuff repair are unable to return to their previous work level after the procedure.
Investigators at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center performed a systematic review to analyze return to work (RTW) outcomes of 1,224 patients (mean age of 52.2 years) who underwent rotator cuff repair.
Overall, researchers found 62.3% of patients (n = 762) returned to their previous level of work at a mean of 8.15 months after surgery, while the remaining 37.7% of patients (n = 462) were unable to return to their previous level of work.
Researchers noted that all patients demonstrated “significant improvements” in shoulder pain and functional outcomes at final follow-up compared with baseline measures. Additionally, no differences were found between patients who underwent an open and arthroscopic repair technique and between workers’ compensation and non-workers’ compensation cohorts, according to the study.
However, random effects modeling did reveal a discrepancy in RTW rates for work of varying intensities. Patients returning to light work had a 94% RTW rate, while patients returning to moderate and heavy work had RTW rates of 75% and 63%, respectively.
“These conclusions support those previously reported in individual investigations and can aid in the counseling of injured workers with rotator cuff tears,” the researchers wrote in the study.