Background: The association between concomitant pathologic characteristics and preoperative symptoms in patients identified as eligible for surgical rotator cuff repair has been sparsely evaluated. The purpose was to explore the associations between preoperative shoulder symptoms and additional structural pathology or injuries identified during surgery in patients with traumatic supraspinatus tears.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study including patients with traumatic supraspinatus tears. Preoperatively, patients reported pain and disability using a numeric pain rating scale from 0 to 10 and the Western Ontario Rotator Cuff Index. During surgery, the presence of prespecified structural injuries and pathologies including a full-thickness or partial supraspinatus tear, infraspinatus tear, subscapularis tear, hooked acromion, acromioclavicular joint osteoarthritis, biceps tendon pathology, labral tear, and cartilage lesion was recorded. Linear regression and analysis of covariance were used to assess associations.
Results: A total of 87 patients (52 male patients, 60%) were included (mean age, 60 years; standard deviation, 9.2 years). Of these patients, 69 (79%) had a full-thickness supraspinatus tear and 18 (21%) had a partial-thickness tear. Concomitant structural pathology was found in 79 patients (91%). No association was found between the number of structural shoulder pathologies and preoperative numeric pain rating scale or Western Ontario Rotator Cuff Index score, and no particular concomitant pathology was associated with worse patient-reported symptoms.
Conclusion: Pathology of the infraspinatus and subscapularis and other structural joint pathologies concomitant with supraspinatus tears were not correlated with preoperative self-reported pain and disability in patients scheduled to undergo rotator cuff surgery, suggesting that concomitant pathology adds little to the symptoms in patients with a traumatic supraspinatus tear.