Management of Concomitant Preoperative Rotator Cuff Pathology and Adhesive Capsulitis: A Systematic Review of Indications, Treatment Approaches, and Outcomes Journal Articles uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: Concomitant preoperative adhesive capsulitis (AC) and rotator cuff (RC) pathology pose therapeutic challenges in light of contrasting interventional and rehabilitative goals. The purposes of this systematic review were to assess the literature regarding the management and rehabilitation of patients with concomitant RC tears and preoperative AC and to compare overall clinical outcomes between strategies for this common scenario. METHODS: In accordance with PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines, 3 databases (MEDLINE, Embase, and PubMed) were searched and screened in duplicate using predetermined criteria for studies on the aforementioned patient population. Descriptive statistics are presented. RESULTS: Of 952 studies, 17 involving 662 shoulders, with a mean age of 59.6 ± 3.5 years, 57.9% female patients, and a mean follow-up period of 18.6 months, were included. Capsular release (CR) (86.1%) and manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) (33.1%) were the most common co-interventions with RC repair. Across studies, mean preoperative American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons scores ranged from 29.0 to 61.3, visual analog scale scores (pain) ranged from 5.3 to 8.0, and Constant scores ranged from 18.0 to 48.0. Mean postoperative American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons scores ranged from 76.9 to 92.0, visual analog scale scores (pain) ranged from 0.3 to 2.5, and Constant scores ranged from 72.6 to 93.2. Postoperative rehabilitation comprised abduction braces and passive range of motion immediately postoperatively for mean durations of 5.0 weeks and 5.3 weeks, respectively, followed by active range of motion at a mean of 5.3 weeks and strengthening at 10.9 weeks. Postoperative complications included stiffness, RC retear, instability, glenoid fracture, and superficial infection. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this systematic review support treatment of patients with degenerative RC tears and concomitant AC with a combination of RC repair and MUA, CR, or both MUA and CR. Regardless of the treatment modality, accelerated postoperative rehabilitative protocols are beneficial in preventing postoperative persistence of AC and can be safely used in this scenario without a substantial increase in complication rates compared with patients undergoing RC repair alone with conservative rehabilitation. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level V, systematic review of Level II, III, IV, and V studies.


  • Zhang, Kailai
  • de SA, Darren
  • Kanakamedala, Ajay
  • Sheean, Andrew J
  • Vyas, Dharmesh

publication date

  • March 2019