The purposes of this study were to (1) evaluate changes in recovery patterns [i.e., clinical outcomes, range of motion (ROM)] in the first 12 months following surgery, (2) identify potential prognostic factors of early clinical outcomes after rotator cuff repair (RCR).
The study cohort included 344 consecutive patients treated with RCR. Data were collected prospectively and included pre- and perioperative variables. Univariate and multivariate linear regression analyses for various parameters including demographics, pre- and perioperative variables were used to predict shoulder function at 12-month follow-up, as measured by clinical outcomes and ROM.
Significant improvement in all clinical scores and ROM were noted during serial follow-ups after RCR (all p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed that female sex, older age, more anchors, diabetes mellitus, and preoperative stiffness were independently associated with worse shoulder function 3 months after RCR. Including the 3 months factors, heavy labor, use of the suture-bridge technique, and large tears were also independently associated with worse outcomes 6 months after surgery. Heavy labor, suture-bridge technique, diabetes mellitus, and preoperative stiffness were associated with significantly worse functional outcomes at 12 months after surgery (all p < 0.05).
Functional recovery based on clinical outcomes (i.e., UCLA, ASES scores) showed approximately 60% of ultimate recovery at 3 months and approximately 75% recovery at 6 months after RCR. Female sex, diabetes mellitus, preoperative stiffness, a larger number of anchors, suture bridge technique, heavy labor, old age and, larger tears were prognostic factors of poor clinical results or ROM in the short-term follow-up intervals. Knowledge of these prognostic factors may lead to improved insight for physicians to predict the pattern of the recovery and patient expectations accordingly.