Rotator Cuff Repair and Immobilization
Source: Methodist Orthopedics
Shoulder rotator cuff repair aims to suture torn rotator cuff tendons and provide them with the optimal environment to heal and minimize chance of retear. Overall retear rates have decreased over the years, but are still a major concern. Better suture techniques have been thoroughly investigated but there is less attention paid to the rehabilitation protocol. Currently the gold standard for rehabilitation after surgery is to wear an abduction brace and begin physical therapy for passive range of motion within the first few weeks. As surgical techniques have evolved from open surgery to arthroscopic surgery, there are questions as to whether this rehabilitation protocol is ideal. Animal studies have shown that longer periods of immobilization are beneficial to healing after rotator cuff repair.