Results of a second attempt at surgical repair of a failed initial rotator-cuff repair.
Twenty-seven patients with twenty-seven involved shoulders underwent a second attempt at repair of an initial rotator-cuff repair that had failed. Factors associated with the failure of the initial repair included a massive or large tendon tear, damage to the deltoid origin at the original surgery, and possibly inadequate postoperative external support. Seven patients required a third operation because of continuing pain or weakness. The remaining twenty patients were followed for a minimum of two years (average, forty-eight months) and seventeen of them were examined at an average of forty-six months (range, twenty-six to 118 months) after surgery. Postoperatively, although seventeen patients (63 per cent) still had moderate or severe pain, sixteen (76 per cent) of the twenty-one patients who were operated on to relieve pain reported that the pain was substantially diminished. Active abduction increased an average of 8 degrees, but only seven shoulders gained more than 30 degrees of active abduction. Nineteen shoulders remained moderately or markedly weak in abduction. Over-all, four patients (17 per cent) had a good result; six (25 per cent), a fair result; and fourteen (58 per cent), a poor result. These results suggest that the surgeon should be quite hesitant to propose a second attempt at rotator cuff repair to a patient, as although pain may be diminished, active movement is unlikely to improve.
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