Despite improvements in clinical outcomes and a low incidence of retears among patients who underwent either immediate or delayed surgical repair of a partial-thickness rotator cuff tear, results published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine showed delayed surgery yielded superior functional outcomes at 6 months postoperatively.
Researchers randomly assigned 78 patients with either isolated bursal-side or articular-side partial-thickness rotator cuff tears to receive either immediate (group 1; n=44) or delayed (group 2; n=34) rotator cuff repair. Patients in the delayed group initially received 6 months of nonoperative treatment. Researchers evaluated clinical status and treatment outcomes using the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score, Constant score and VAS for pain and range of motion at the initial visit, at 3, 6 and 12 months postoperatively, and at the last visit after 24 months. At 12 months postoperatively, researchers used MRI to assess cuff integrity.
Due to improvement of symptoms during the 6 months of preoperative nonoperative treatment, 10 patients in group 2 voluntarily dropped out from the study. Compared with the initial period, results showed significant improvements in terms of functional scores and pain VAS scores in both groups at the end of the study. Researchers noted a lower pain VAS score and higher ASES score among patients who underwent delayed surgery at 6 months postoperatively. However, researchers found no other significant differences between the two groups. According to results, retear was experienced in one patient in group 1 and two patients from group 2 at 12 months postoperatively. – by Casey Tingle
Disclosure: This study was supported by a research grant from the National Research Foundation of Korea.