Do Outcomes Differ after Rotator Cuff Repair for Patients Receiving Workers’ Compensation?
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Comparisons of outcomes after rotator cuff repair between Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) recipients and nonrecipients generally do not consider patient, injury, and shoulder characteristics. We compared preoperative differences between WCB recipients and nonrecipients and determined the impact on their 6-month postoperative outcome. We evaluated a prospective cohort of 141 patients with full-thickness rotator cuff tears, 36 of whom (26%) were WCB recipients, preoperatively and 3 and 6 months after rotator cuff repair. Their mean age was 54.0 ± 10.4 years (standard deviation) and 102 (72%) patients were male. Shoulder range of motion, Western Ontario Rotator Cuff (WORC) index, and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons’ score were used to evaluate outcomes. We performed regression analyses to control for baseline differences in age, baseline scores, smoking status, symptom duration, injury type, and associated biceps disorder between WCB recipients and nonrecipients. WCB recipients were younger and more likely to smoke, have a traumatic injury, and undergo surgery within 6 months of injury. WCB recipients had lower recovery for all outcomes when these differences were not considered but when differences were accounted for, only 6-month WORC scores were lower in WCB recipients. Clinicians should consider preoperative characteristics before concluding WCB recipients experience less recovery after surgical repair.
Level of Evidence: Level I, prognostic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.