Functional outcomes after bilateral arthroscopic rotator cuff repair

Alexander W. Aleem, Usman Ali M. Syed, Jocelyn Wascher, Adam C. Zoga, Koby Close, Joseph A. Abboud, Steven B. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Arthroscopic repair of rotator cuff tears is a common procedure performed by orthopedic surgeons. There is a well-known incidence of up to 35% of bilateral rotator cuff tear disease in patients who have a known unilateral tear. The majority of the literature focuses on outcomes after unilateral surgery. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are clinical differences in shoulders of patients who underwent staged bilateral rotator cuff repairs during their lifetime. Methods A retrospective review of all patients who underwent staged bilateral arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery at our institution was performed. All patients had at least 2 years of follow-up. Clinical outcome scores including the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES), Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation, and Rowe measures were obtained. A subset of patients returned for clinical and ultrasound evaluation performed by an independent fellowship-trained musculoskeletal radiologist. Results Overall, 110 shoulders in 55 patients, representing 68% of all eligible patients, participated. No clinical or statistical difference was found in any outcome measure. ASES scores averaged 86.5 (36.7-100) in the dominant shoulder compared with 89.6 (23.3-100) in the nondominant shoulder (P = .42). Ultrasound was available on 34 shoulders and showed complete healing rate of 88%. The shoulders with retearing of the rotator cuff (12%) demonstrated clinically relevant lower ASES scores (72.5) compared with shoulders with confirmed healed repairs (86.2; P = .2). Discussion Patients who undergo staged bilateral rotator cuff repair can expect to have similarly good clinical outcomes regardless of hand dominance or chronologic incidence with excellent healing rates in both shoulders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1668-1673
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair
  • bilateral
  • functional outcomes
  • revision rotator cuff repair
  • shoulder
  • ultrasound of rotator cuff


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