Cuff surgery: Still no cigar

The degenerative cuff tear still unresolved. The image is CC by Brian
The degenerative cuff tear still unresolved. The image is CC by Brian

I’ve previously reported on Kukkonen et al’s excellent three-armed rotator cuff surgery RCT. They’ve now just published the 2-year follow-up where they still don’t see any difference in outcomes. Interestingly, they’ve added an MRI and noted that the cuff tear remains smaller among those that had surgery. This indicates that the intended surgery works but still too early to see any actual results.

The authors speculate whether the smaller cuff tear may prove beneficial in the longer run. It is possible that the surgery prevents later cuff arthropathy. Although it is good to keep in mind that this would be the going against the trend – few (if any?) orthopaedic surgeries for degenerative diseases manage to prevent later problems…

J. Kukkonen, A. Joukainen, J. Lehtinen, K. T. Mattila, E. K. J. Tuominen, T. Kauko, and V. Äärimaa, “Treatment of Nontraumatic Rotator Cuff Tears,” J Bone Joint Surg Am, vol. 97, no. 21, pp. 1729–1737, Nov. 2015.

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