Comparing expert opinion within the care team regarding postoperative rehabilitation protocol following rotator cuff repair

Liam T. Kane, Mark D. Lazarus, Surena Namdari, Amee L. Seitz, Joseph A. Abboud*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Introduction: There is no established consensus regarding the optimal rehabilitation protocol following rotator cuff repair, including duration of immobilization, timing to initiate range of motion and resistance exercises, and the importance of supervised, formal therapy. The purpose of this study was to determine agreement in opinion regarding rotator cuff rehabilitation between orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists (PTs). Methods: A 50-question survey was created on a secure data capture system and distributed via e-mail to members of professional organization affiliations. Surgeon participants were recruited from the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, and PTs were recruited from the American Society of Shoulder and Elbow Therapists and the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association. Survey responses were analyzed for interprofessional differences in majority opinion and distribution of answer choices. Results: A total of 167 surgeons and 667 PTs responded to the survey. Of the 39 questions evaluated, surgeons and PTs reached intraprofessional majority agreement in 26 (67%) and 28 (72%) statements, respectively, with agreements matching in 17 instances and differing in 4. The 2 groups had different answer preferences in 32 questions (82%). PTs were more likely to support shorter immobilization intervals (P < .001), earlier strengthening (P < .001), and more frequent home exercises (P = .002), whereas surgeons endorsed more conservative weight-bearing restrictions (P < .001), time-based phase transitions (P < .001), and web-based technological platforms for rehabilitation (P < .001). Conclusion: Our findings show that although significant discrepancy of opinion exists within professions, greater differences in preferences exist between surgeons and PTs regarding rotator cuff repair rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e330-e337
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Experts
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Survey Study
  • expert opinion
  • physical therapy
  • postoperative protocol
  • rehabilitation
  • rotator cuff treatment
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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