Outcome at 3 to 5 years of a treatment algorithm for rotator cuff tears in an elderly population


rotator cuff ; geriatry ; treatment ; shoulder.

Published online: Dec 30 2018

Hamlet Mirzoyan, Frank Handelberg, Nicole Pouliart

From the Department of Orthopaedics and traumatology, UZ Brussel, Brussels, Belgium


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the results of a conservative approach of rotator cuff tears in an elderly population at 3 to 5 years of follow-up.

Prospective comparative study. All patients started with a program of exercises of at least 1 to 3 months. When no satisfying results for pain relief and ADL were achieved, surgery for cuff tear repair was offered. Patients were contacted after 3 to 5 years for evaluation by questionnaire, an ultrasound and a strength measurement exam.

97 patients (104 shoulders) with a mean age of 68,5 years were included.

47.1% of shoulders were treated conservatively whereas 52.9% switched to surgical treatment.

Evaluation after 3 to 5 years showed no significant difference between type of treatment and post treatment test scores (Constant score, SF12v2, OSS and WORC).

Delaying surgery for 3 months does not seem to influence outcome negatively.