Early and Delayed Postoperative Rehabilitation after Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair: A Comparative Study of Clinical Outcomes

  • Choi, Sungwook (Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Jeju National University School of Medicine) ;
  • Seo, Kyu Bum (Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Jeju National University School of Medicine) ;
  • Shim, Seungjae (Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Jeju National University School of Medicine) ;
  • Shin, Ju Yeon (Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Jeju National University School of Medicine) ;
  • Kang, Hyunseong (Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Jeju National University School of Medicine)
  • Received : 2019.09.03
  • Accepted : 2019.10.27
  • Published : 2019.12.01


Background: The duration of immobilization after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and the optimal time to commence rehabilitation are still the subject of ongoing debates. This study was undertaken to evaluate the functional outcome and rotator cuff healing status after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair by comparing early and delayed rehabilitation. Methods: Totally, 76 patients with small, medium, and large sized rotator cuff tears underwent arthroscopic repair using the suturebridge technique. In early rehabilitation group, 38 patients commenced passive range of motion at postoperative day 2 whereas 38 patients assigned to the delayed rehabilitation group commenced passive range of motion at postoperative week 3. At the end of the study period, clinical and functional evaluations (Constant score, the University of California, Los Angeles [UCLA] shoulder score) were carried out, subsequent to measuring the range of motion, visual analogue scale for pain, and isokinetic dynamometer test. Rotator cuff healing was confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging at least 6 months after surgery. Results: No significant difference was obtained in range of motion and visual analogue scale between both groups. Functional outcomes showed similar improvements in the Constant score (early: 67.0-88.0; delayed: 66.9-91.0; p<0.001) and the UCLA shoulder score (early: 20.3-32.3; delayed: 20.4-32.4; p<0.001). Furthermore, rotator cuff healing showed no significant differences between the groups (range, 6-15 months; average, 10.4 months). Conclusions: Delayed passive rehabilitation does not bring about superior outcomes. Therefore, early rehabilitation would be useful to help patients resume their daily lives.


Rotator cuff injuries;Arthroscopy;Rehabilitation;Shoulder


Supported by : Jeju National University Hospital


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