Korean J Sports Med.  2019 Dec;37(4):121-129. 10.5763/kjsm.2019.37.4.121.

Return to Sports Following Rotator Cuff Repair: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea. oscho5362@dsmc.or.kr


Given the increasing common use of rotator cuff repair (RCR), return to sport (RTS) remains an important challenge and measure of success for athletes undergoing RCR. To determine the rate of return to the same level of sports after repair of rotator cuff tears.
The PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines were followed to perform this systematic review and meta-analysis of the results in the literature. The electronic databases of PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Scopus were used for the literature search. Study quality was evaluated according to the MINORS (Methodological Index for Nonrandomized Studies) checklist. Studies evaluating the rate of return to the same level of sports after repair of partial- or full-thickness rotator cuff tears were included.
Ten studies were reviewed, including 357 patients who were treated with RCR and who had a mean follow-up of 48.1 months (range, 16–74 months). The overall rate of RTS was 88.6%. Among them, 77.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 67.1%–86.0%) of patients were able to return to the same level of sports according to the meta-analysis. Subgroup meta-analysis revealed that partial-thickness rotator cuff tear was 77.9% (95% CI, 70.0%–84.1%), and full-thickness was 69.6% (95% CI, 46.3%–85.9%), but there was no statistical significance (p>0.05).
Most patients (88.6%) were able to return to sports after RCR and 78% of patients return to sports at the same level of play as before their injury.


Arthroscopy; Athletes; Meta-analysis; Return to sports; Rotator cuff; Systematic review
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