Previous cortisone injections linked to increased risk for revision rotator cuff repair

Cortisone injections are a common nonsurgical approach to treating rotator cuff injuries. However, researchers presenting their work today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day in New Orleans suggest that individuals who receive injections less than six months before a rotator cuff repair may have an increased risk for revision rotator cuff repair.

"As more patients elect to undergo a rotator cuff repair, surgeons may want to consider either delaying surgery or avoiding shoulder injections within 6 months to lower the risk of requiring a subsequent, revision rotator cuff repair," said lead researcher, Sophia A. Traven, MD from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina.

Traven and her team identified 4,959 patients who had an arthroscopic primary rotator cuff repair. Of these subjects, 553 required reoperation within the following three years and 392, or 70.9%, were for a revision rotator cuff repair. The mean age of those patients was 49.2 years and 53.6% were male. Patients who had an injection within 6 months were at a much higher risk of requiring a revision cuff repair within the following three years at 52.8%. Those who had an injection between 6-12 months before surgery had no increased risk compared to those that did not have an injection at all within the year preceding surgery.

"Our study is the first to demonstrate that there is a time-dependent relationship between shoulder injections and the risk of requiring a revision rotator cuff repair. Additional research on how the type of injection and number of injections affect healing will be critical and help influence better recovery rates and treatment protocol," said Traven.

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