The Effect of Arthroscopic Repair in Rotator Cuff Healing: A Study

The Study

A study over the course of 1993 to 2002 set out to understand the results of arthroscopic repair in rotator cuff tear injuries. The study followed 19 patients from the ages of 40-70 who didn’t benefit from a more conservative treatment.

The main complaint in all patients prior to the operation had been pain starting from the shoulder and moving into the arm causing loss of function. The complaints had started following a particular trauma in twelve patients. Trauma was caused by heavy lifting in two patients, falling on the arm in five, hanging by the arm in four and falling with the arm extended forward in one. There were no trauma histories regarding the other seven patients.

The Results

Postoperative MR images were examined to evaluate the condition of the partial tear. Evaluation showed the tear remained the same for thirteen patients, deteriorated in five and turned into a full tear for one patient.

These results show that in the short term, surgical treatment has been successful in reducing clinical symptoms in most of the cases. However, the effect of surgical treatment on partial rotator cuff tear healing is not yet known completely. There isn’t proof that removing the torn tissues triggers a healing response.


Although clinical symptoms show improvement in most of the patients following arthroscopic treatment, partial rotator cuff tears do not heal completely in a considerable number of cases, and may progress to full-thickness tears in some.

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