Conservative treatment of rotator cuff tears

E. Itoi, S. Tabata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Citations (Scopus)


Among 124 shoulders in 114 patients with complete rotator cuff tears who had been treated conservatively from 1980 until 1989, 62 shoulders in 54 patients were observed to identify the findings on initial examinations and correlate them with the final results. The follow-up period averaged 3.4 years. According to modified criteria of Wolfgang, 51 shoulders in 45 patients (82%) rated satisfactory (excellent or good). The overall scores of pain, motion, and function improved significantly. The results were less satisfactory in patients observed more than six years. The patients with satisfactory results (Group 1) and unsatisfactory results (Group 2) among those observed more than five years were compared. In Group 1, the scores of pain, motion, and strength improved significantly at follow-up examinations, whereas those of function did not. In Group 2, no improvement was recognized in any categories. The only significant differences in the initial findings between the two groups were the active abduction angle and the abduction strength: the patients in Group 1 retained a good range of motion and strength, whereas those with unsatisfactory results had a limited range and muscle weakness on first examinations. Conservative treatment affords satisfactory results when it is given to the patients with well-preserved motion and strength, although in some cases function may deteriorate with time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-173
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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