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American Journal of Sports Medicine Study Finds Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery Can Improve Pain Relief and Shoulder Function

Female patients may not have as successful results

Rosemont, IL (Vocus) December 29, 2009 -- A new study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that arthroscopic shoulder surgery performed after a failed rotator cuff repair surgery can provide pain relief and improve shoulder function.

The study evaluated 61 patients, all of whom had undergone a rotator cuff repair surgery that failed. Arthroscopic surgery was performed on these individuals to improve their pain and shoulder function. The follow-up results, one to two years later, indicated that the arthroscopic surgery significantly improved pain relief and shoulder function.

The study is the largest study to report on arthroscopic revision repairs (surgery completed after an already failed surgery attempt) of rotator cuff tear. Previously, the largest study had 14 patients. Patients were also available for follow up a year to two years after surgery and were analyzed with validated, shoulder-specific functional outcome measurements.

“We are very excited about the results of the study. Until now, there had only been two reports documenting the results of arthroscopic surgery after a failed rotator cuff repair surgery,” says Shane J. Nho, MD, MS, an assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center and author on the study. “Most studies that have published on revision surgery discuss results of open revision techniques. Typically, results of open revision technique are worse than after the initial failed surgery, but the open clinical studies were performed on larger and more chronic rotator cuff tears. It is encouraging to have a study that presents a revision arthroscopic technique that can decrease pain and improve function.”

Six patients required additional surgery after the revision surgery. These patients had already had two or more shoulder surgeries prior to the revision surgery. “Our study also found that female patients and those who could not raise their arm to 90 degrees to the side before the surgery were at an increased risk for poorer results,” adds Nho. “We are not quite sure why the females had a worse clinical outcome; however, there are other studies that have also observed this finding.”

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) is a world leader in sports medicine education, research, communication and fellowship, and includes national and international orthopaedic sports medicine leaders. The Society works closely with many other sports medicine specialists, including athletic trainers, physical therapists, family physicians, and others to improve the identification, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports injuries. For more information visit AJSM online at or contact Lisa Weisenberger at lisa(at) or 847-292-4900.


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