The purpose of this study was to identify potential predictors of function and tendon healing after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair that will enable the orthopaedic surgeon to determine which patients can expect a successful outcome. Between 2003 and 2005, the Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Registry was established to collect demographic, intraoperative, functional outcome, and ultrasound data prospectively on all patients who underwent primary arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. At total of 193 patients met the study criteria, and 127 (65.8%) completed the 2-year follow-up. The most significant independent factors affecting ultrasound outcome were age (odds ratio [OR], 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-1.14; P = .006) and tear size (OR, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.55-3.38; P < .001). After adjustment for age and tear size, the intraoperative factors found to be significantly associated with a tendon defect were concomitant biceps procedures (OR, 11.39; 95% CI, 2.90-44.69; P < .001) and acromioclavicular joint procedures (OR, 3.85; 95% CI, 1.46-10.12; P = .006). In contrast to the ultrasound data, the functional outcome variables, such as satisfaction (OR, 3.92; 95% CI, 2.00-7.68; P < .001) and strength (OR, 10.05; 95% CI, 1.61-62.77; P = .01), had a greater role in predicting an American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score greater than 90. The progression from a single-tendon rotator cuff tear to a multiple-tendon tear with associated pathology increased the likelihood of tendon defect by at least 9 times, and therefore, earlier surgical intervention for isolated, single-tendon rotator cuff tears could optimize the likelihood of ultrasound healing and an excellent functional outcome.
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