Background: The outcome after rotator cuff surgery has been reported frequently with use of condition-specific measures, but patient satisfaction has not been well studied. The purpose of this study was to identify the determinants of patient satisfaction with the outcome after rotator cuff surgery.
Methods: A cohort of 311 patients undergoing rotator cuff surgery was studied prospectively. Two hundred and fifty-four patients had subjective follow-up for a minimum of one year, and fifty-seven patients had subjective and objective follow-up for a minimum of one year. Diagnoses included tendinitis or impingement (eighty patients), a partial-thickness rotator cuff tear (fifty-five patients), and a full-thickness rotator cuff tear (176 patients). The dependent variable was patient satisfaction with the outcome, graded ordinally on a scale of 1 to 10. Independent variables included demographic, surgical, objective follow-up, and subjective follow-up parameters. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify the determinants of satisfaction.
Results: Univariate analysis of demographic variables demonstrated no significant differences (p > 0.05) with respect to patient satisfaction. Analysis of the surgical variables showed significantly decreased satisfaction (p < 0.05) for patients who had débridement for a massive, irreparable cuff tear; those who had subscapularis tears; and those with larger supraspinatus and infraspinatus tears. Analysis of the objective variables at follow-up demonstrated significantly decreased satisfaction (p < 0.05) for patients with diminished and weakened forward elevation, impingement signs, and acromioclavicular joint pain and tenderness. Univariate analysis of subjective variables at follow-up showed significantly decreased satisfaction (p < 0.001) for patients with pain, functional difficulty, and work disability.
Multivariate analysis demonstrated significantly decreased satisfaction associated with pain (p < 0.001) and dysfunction (p < 0.05). A significant relationship (p < 0.05) was detected between satisfaction and a willingness to recommend the surgery to another. A significant relationship (p < 0.05) was also found between satisfaction and the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score.
Conclusions: Subjective variables of symptoms and function have the most robust associations with patient satisfaction following rotator cuff surgery. Thus, in assessing the outcome of rotator cuff surgery from the perspective of patient satisfaction with outcome, we emphasize the importance of patient-derived subjective assessment of symptoms and function.
Level of Evidence: Prognostic Level II. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
1 Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
3 Clinical Research Department, Steadman Hawkins Clinic, Steadman Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation, 181 West Meadow Drive, Suite 1000, Vail, CO 81657. E-mail address for M.P. Horan: firstname.lastname@example.org