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|Rotator cuff repair versus nonoperative treatment: a systematic review with meta-analysis|
|Brindisino F, Salomon M, Giagio S, Pastore C, Innocenti T|
|Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 2021 Nov;30(11):2648-2659|
BACKGROUND: Rotator cuff (RC) tears have been widely studied as many treatment strategies have been recommended. However, optimal management for patients with RC tears is still unclear. PURPOSE: The main aim of this systematic review was to analyze randomized controlled trials using meta-analysis to compare repair to conservative treatments for patients with any type of RC tear. METHODS: Medline, Cochrane Library (CENTRAL database), PEDro, and Scopus databases were used. Two independent reviewers selected randomized controlled trials that compared surgical to conservative treatments for RC tear patients. The studies included were assessed using Cochrane risk of bias 2 tools, and the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to evaluate the certainty of evidence and to summarize the study conclusions. RESULTS: Six trials were included. Pooled results showed improvement in function and pain perception in favor of the repair group at 6 months (mean difference 1.26, 95% CI -2.34 to 4.85, p = 0.49; and -0.59, 95% CI -0.84 to -0.33, p < 0.001, respectively), at 12 months (mean difference 5.25, 95% CI 1.55 to 8.95, p = 0.005, for function; and -0.41, 95% CI -0.70 to -0.12, p = 0.006, for pain) and at 24 months (mean difference 5.57, 95% CI 1.86 to 9.29, p = 0.003, for function; and -0.92, 95% CI -1.31 to -0.52, p < 0.001, for pain) in RC tear patients. However, these differences did not reach the minimum clinically important difference. The certainty of evidence ranged from low to moderate because of imprecision in the studies included. CONCLUSIONS: Overall analysis showed that in patients with RC tear, repair compared with conservative treatment could result in increased pain reduction and functional improvement at 6, 12, and 24 months. Even if these effects were often statistically significant, their clinical relevance was limited. Moreover, the certainty of body of evidence ranged from low to moderate. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level II; meta-analysis.