Rotator cuff repair in patients over 70 years of age

Early outcomes and risk factors associated with re-tear

P. M. Robinson, J. Wilson, S. Dalal, R. A. Parker, P. Norburn, B. R. Roy


This study reports the clinical and sonographic outcome of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair in patients aged ≥ 70 years and aimed to determine factors associated with re-tear. A total of 69 consecutive repairs were performed in 68 patients with a mean age of 77 years (70 to 86). Constant-Murley scores were collected pre-operatively and at one year post-operatively. The integrity of the repair was assessed using ultrasound. Re-tear was detected in 20 of 62 patients (32%) assessed with ultrasound. Age at operation was significantly associated with re-tear free survival (p = 0.016). The mean pre-operative Constant score was 23 (sd 14), which increased to 58 (sd 20) at one year post-operatively (paired t-test, p < 0.001). Male gender was significantly associated with a higher score at one year (p = 0.019).

We conclude that arthroscopic rotator cuff repair in patients aged ≥ 70 years is a successful procedure. The gender and age of the patient are important factors to consider when planning management.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:199–205.


  • The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution made by Dr M. M. Caplan in performing shoulder ultrasound scans.

    No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

  • Received June 8, 2012.
  • Accepted October 19, 2012.
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