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Large study of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair reveals some surprises
Date:2/18/2011

Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair is highly effective and provides durable results five years after surgery, according to a large, prospective study by Hospital for Special Surgery investigators. The study also surprisingly revealed that the rotator cuff has the ability to heal even when early imaging studies have found a defect at the site of repair. The research will be presented at the upcoming American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) 2011 Specialty Day meeting, to be held Feb. 19 in San Diego, Calif., following the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

"Our study demonstrates that arthroscopic rotator cuff repair results remain excellent when followed over five years, and we found that some tendons that were incompletely healed at two years appeared to heal fully by five years, suggesting that rather than deteriorating over time, results may in fact improve over time," said David Altchek, M.D., attending orthopedic surgeon and co-chief in the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York, who was involved with the study.

These days, arthroscopy is the standard of care for repairing rotator cuffs. Most patients who have this procedure have excellent clinical results, but surprisingly the results sometimes don't correlate to whether the rotator cuff is healed or not. "When your rotator cuff is torn, you attribute all your pain and dysfunction to your torn rotator cuff, then you have it fixed and you feel better, but sometimes when you take an ultrasound or an MRI, the rotator cuff looks exactly like it did before you had the surgery," said Lawrence Gulotta, M.D., who led the study and is a sports medicine and shoulder surgeon at HSS. "Before this study, we thought that once a rotator cuff had re-torn or failed to heal following surgery, it had no capacity to heal in the future. Now we know that the rotator cuff does have the capacity to heal itself, even if early radiogra
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Contact: Phyllis Fisher
phyllis.fisher@gmaila.com
212-606-1197
Hospital for Special Surgery
Source:Eurekalert

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