Primary vs. revision shoulder surgery: Which has more complications — 5 key points

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

A study recently published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine examines revision arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery outcomes.

The researchers examined 50 revision arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs performed by a single surgeon with a two-year minimum follow-up. The revision group was older than the primary group and had a larger tear size than the primary group on average.


Here are five findings from the study:


1. The primary surgical group reported less pain at rest, during sleep and with overhead activity than the primary rotator cuff surgery group.


2. Two years after surgery, the primary surgery group reported better:


• Passive forward flexion
• Abduction
• Internal rotation
• Significantly greater supraspinatus strength
• Lift off strength
• Abduction


3. The revision group was more satisfied with their overall surgery function before surgery than the primary group was. However, the revision group was less satisfied with their shoulder function after two years.


4. The re-tear rate was 16 percent for patients with primary surgeries and 28 percent for revision surgery six months after surgery. That number deteriorated to 40 percent at two years.


5. The researchers concluded, "The increase in re-tear rate in the revision group at two years was associated with increased pain, impaired overhead function, less passive motion, weaker strength and less overall satisfaction with shoulder function."


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