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Attitude May Help Outcome in Rotator Cuff Surgery

Greater preoperative expectations by patients undergoing rotator cuff surgery is correlated with improved outcome

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- High patient expectations prior to surgery for chronic rotator cuff injuries are associated with better overall outcomes and performance, according to a report in the September issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

R. Frank Henn, III, M.D., and colleagues from Brown Medical School, Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I., performed a prospective outcomes study of 125 patients who underwent surgery for chronic rotator cuff injuries to determine if their expectations were met one year after the procedure. The same surgeon performed all the operations between January 1998 and September 2001 on patients with an average age of 56 years. Among the patients, 58 percent were male and 66 percent of the cohort had surgery on the dominant shoulder.

Using mobility tests and questionnaires, the researchers found that a greater preoperative expectation by the patient was an independent predictor of better outcomes a year after surgery as self-assessed by the patient. Patients with high expectations also had less pain, showed good performance on a simple shoulder test and had healthier scores on a Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire.

"This study demonstrates that patients' preoperative expectations have a dramatic positive association with their self-assessed outcome after rotator cuff repair," the authors write. "These findings are consistent with those of previous studies that have shown a positive association between greater expectations and treatment outcomes; however, the degree of association was particularly robust in our study."

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