The indications and outcomes for rotator cuff repair (RCR) among patients ≥70 years old are not widely reported. Many active patients in this age range desire a joint-preserving option, and several small series reported successful clinical outcomes after RCR among patients aged ≥70 years.
The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature on the outcomes of RCR among patients ≥70 years old.
Systematic review; Level of evidence, 4.
A systematic review of the literature was performed following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. The electronic databases of PubMed and Cochrane were used for the literature search. The quality of the included studies was evaluated according to the Coleman Methodology Score. Studies in English evaluating repair of full-thickness rotator cuff tears among patients aged ≥70 years were included.
Eleven studies were reviewed, including 680 patients (694 shoulders) who were treated with arthroscopic and/or open RCR with a mean follow-up of 24.2 months (range, 12-40.8 months). Forty patients were lost to follow-up, leaving 654 shoulders with outcome data. This age group demonstrated a significant increase in clinical and functional outcomes after RCR with high satisfaction. American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons scores showed an improvement from 44.2 (range, 35.4-56) preoperatively to 87.9 (range, 84-90.3) postoperatively, while Constant scores improved from 41.7 (range, 22.6-53.6) to 70.8 (range, 58.6-76). Postoperative imaging evaluation was performed on 513 shoulders, revealing a retear rate of 27.1% (139 shoulders). There were 45 retears after open repair and 94 after arthroscopic repair. The difference in retear rate among patients receiving arthroscopic repairs was not significantly different than open repairs ( P = .831). Pain according to a visual analog scale improved from 5.5 (range, 4.6-6.4) preoperatively to 1.3 (range, 0.5-2.3) postoperatively.
RCR among patients ≥70 years old shows high clinical success rates with good outcomes and overall excellent pain relief. Although patients in this age group have a high potential for retear or persistent defects on imaging studies, RCR offers a joint-preserving option with significant functional and clinical improvement for the appropriately indicated patient.