Surgery vs. Physical Therapy for Rotator Cuff Tears [Full Thickness] FPF Show Episode 121

By dpope2020

February 14, 2024

arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, arthroscopy, dan pope, dr. david middaugh, el paso manual physical therapy, fitness pain free, physical therapy, rotator cuff, rotator cuff exercises, rotator cuff injury, rotator cuff repair, rotator cuff repair surgery, rotator cuff surgery, rotator cuff surgery recovery, rotator cuff tear, rotator cuff tear treatment, rotator cuff treatment, Shoulder, shoulder injury, Shoulder Pain, shoulder surgery, torn rotator cuff

Surgery vs. Physical Therapy for Rotator Cuff Tears [Full Thickness] FPF Show Episode 121

To go along with today's episode I have a nice infographic to share...

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In today's video we go over Surgery vs. Physical Therapy for Rotator Cuff Tears [Full Thickness] FPF Show Episode 121: 

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 0:21 Article: Conservative vs. surgical management for patients with rotator cuff tears
  • 0:44 Why consider physical therapy over rotator cuff repair?
  • 1:40 Just how common are rotator cuff tears? 
  • 5:42 Do rotator cuff tears progress over time?
  • 6:22 Are rotator cuff tears like gray hairs?
  • 9:41 Are rotator cuff repairs successful? 
  • 11:46 Can we successfully treat rotator cuff tears with physical therapy?
  • 13:37 What's more effective, physical therapy or surgery at the 1 and 2 year mark?
  • 20:34 What happens at the 5 and 10 year mark after surgery vs. physical therapy?
  • 25:23 How fast do rotator cuff tears progress over time? (full and partial thickness)
  • 31:14 When should patients consider surgery over physical therapy?

Surgery! No wait, physical therapy!


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  1. Longo UG, Risi Ambrogioni L, Candela V, Berton A, Carnevale A, Schena E, Denaro V. Conservative versus surgical management for patients with rotator cuff tears: a systematic review and META-analysis. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2021 Jan 8;22(1):50. doi: 10.1186/s12891-020-03872-4. Erratum in: BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2021 Sep 2;22(1):752. PMID: 33419401; PMCID: PMC7796609.
  2. Moosmayer S, Lund G, Seljom US, Haldorsen B, Svege IC, Hennig T, Pripp AH, Smith HJ. At a 10-Year Follow-up, Tendon Repair Is Superior to Physiotherapy in the Treatment of Small and Medium-Sized Rotator Cuff Tears. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2019 Jun 19;101(12):1050-1060. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.18.01373. PMID: 31220021.
  3. Frandsen JJ, Quinlan NJ, Smith KM, Lu CC, Chalmers PN, Tashjian RZ. Symptomatic Rotator Cuff Tear Progression: Conservatively Treated Full- and Partial-Thickness Tears Continue to Progress. Arthrosc Sports Med Rehabil. 2022 Apr 20;4(3):e1091-e1096. doi: 10.1016/j.asmr.2022.03.006. PMID: 35747654; PMCID: PMC9210491.