Current evidence for effectiveness of interventions to treat rotator cuff tears
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Abstract: In this systematic review we assessed effectiveness of non-surgical and (post)surgical interventions for symptomatic rotator cuff tears (RotCuffTear). The Cochrane Library, PubMed, Embase, Cinahl, and Pedro were searched for relevant systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Two reviewers independently selected relevant studies, extracted data and assessed the methodological quality. Three Cochrane reviews (7 RCTs) and 14 RCTs were included (3 non-surgery, 10 surgery, 8 post-surgery). For small or medium RotCufftears, moderate evidence was found in favour of surgery versus physiotherapy in mid- and long-term. In surgery, tendon-to-bone fixation with one metal suture anchor loaded with double sutures (TB) was more effective (moderate evidence) than a side-to-side repair with permanent sutures (SS) in the mid- and long-term; limited evidence for effectiveness was found in favour of debridement versus anchor replacement and suture repair of the type II SLAP tear in the long-term. Further, no evidence was found in favour of any non-surgical, surgical or post-surgical intervention. In conclusion, although surgery seems to give better results compared to non-surgery and TB is more effective than SS in rotator cuff repair (RCR), it remains hard to draw firm evidence-based conclusions for effectiveness of non-surgical or (post)surgical interventions to treat RotCuffTears. More research is clearly needed.