Rotator Cuff Tears and Older Patients
Over the years, rotator cuff tear repairs through arthroscopy has become a common surgical technique. With these types of repairs, there are three key factors which will affect the outcome of the surgery:
Size of tear
Amount of fatty tissue breakdown around the joint
Age of the patient
There are not many studies that measure the amount of functional improvement post-surgery. However, of those that do, they show there is significant functional improvement for those patients sixty-five and older.
So, a team of researchers set out to dig a little bit deeper.
In order to learn more about specifically tendon healing of those 65 and older, a study was done of 358 rotator cuff tear surgery patients to determine the rate and type of healing observed as well as the functional outcome in those subjects aged 65 and older.
These patients were evaluated at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months and then yearly to test for tendon healing and functionality. To evaluate the integrity of the repair, 3 stages of healing were used throughout:
Watertight and anatomic healing: considered normal if there was no contrast media inside the tendon.
Watertight and partial healing: this was classified when contrast was seen within the tendon no matter if it communicated with the subacromial space.
Not watertight and re-tear: this showed there was still a complete or full-thickness tear.
The Results Show Hope For Older Patients
The results of the study showed that arthroscopic repair in patients 65 and older can produce tendon healing that also results in significant functional improvement. This result is especially prevalent when patients aged 65 and older are suffering from a small or medium-sized tear.
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