Intra-articular corticosteroid injections after rotator cuff repair may be effective in increasing range of motion while maintaining cuff integrity, according to published findings. Researchers noted the injections did not increase the risk of retears and contributed to greater range of motion and improved clinical scores during the early postoperative period.
Researchers identified 80 patients with small- to medium-sized rotator cuff tears and monitored them after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Eight weeks after surgery, 50% of the patients received an injection of triamcinolone (40 mg) and lidocaine (1.5 mL) into the glenohumeral joint (group 1). The remaining 50% received normal saline injections (group 2). Researchers followed patients for a mean of 25.7 months.
At 3, 6 and 12 months after surgery and at the last follow-up, evaluations included range of motion, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) score, Constant score, Simple Shoulder Test score and pain visual analog scale. At 8 weeks and 12 months after surgery, researchers used MRI and Sugaya classification to evaluate the integrity of the repaired tendon.
At 3 months postoperatively, patients in group 1 showed significantly greater range of motion compared to group 2, including increased forward flexion, external rotation at abduction and external rotation at the side. In addition, group 1 showed higher ASES scores and lower scores for pain compared to group 2. Researchers noted no significant difference between the groups for internal rotation behind the back.
After 6 months, data showed no notable differences between groups in range of motion or ASES scores. At 12 months, researchers found no statistically significant difference in rate of retears, with three patients from group 1 and four patients from group 2 presenting new damage to the rotator cuff. -by Julia Lowndes
Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.