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Today’s article “Rehabilitation variability after rotator cuff repair” by Galetta et al. is from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Rotator cuff repairs are a common procedure with over 250,000 estimated to be performed each year. Ideally the rehab protocol for this procedure would be standardized. The authors looked at publicly available protocols from US academic orthopaedic institutions and from a google search. They then compared the 66 available protocols online to that of the American Society of Shoulder and Elbow Therapists (ASSET) guidelines published in 2016.

The authors were able to find protocols from 24 states. Of the 66 protocols analyzed 51 described small or medium tears, 29 unspecified size, and 15 large or massive tears.

Interesting findings of the study are the lack of consensus of length of time needed for strict immobilization, timing to begin range of motion, progression of range of motion, and timing for the initiation of strengthening. Specifically, the authors mention discrepancy in reporting strengthening even within the ASSET’s guidelines and highlight the need for a clear definition of strengthening.

The paper highlights the need for further research into the topic of rotator cuff rehab. The authors also note that wider availability of published protocols may help collaboration to increase standardization of rehab protocols.

Dr. Art Villarreal provides rehabilitation for various orthopedic conditions. To know more, you can call his office at 512-244-4272 or schedule an appointment online.