Return to work after early repair of acute traumatic rotator cuff tears

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Lost workdays following rotator cuff repair is not well-studied in the literature. We aimed to define the time away from work following early arthroscopic repair of acute traumatic rotator cuff tears and compare it with the recommendations of the American Medical Disability Advisor (MD Guidelines) and The Swedish Social Insurance Agency. Methods: Thirty-two consecutive working patients with a median age of 58 (42–70) years suffering from acute traumatic rotator cuff tears who underwent arthroscopic repair were prospectively studied. The studied variables were age, gender, alcohol use, smoking, number of injured tendons, dominant side involvement, work-related injury, employment status, preoperative work level, alterations of work tasks at return to work, and time away from work. Results: 97% of the patients returned to full-duty work. The median time to return to full-duty work was 5.0 (1.1–10.5) months. Preoperative work level (p = 0.025) and dominant side (p = 0.02) significantly affected the time away from work on the univariate analysis, while GLM model showed a trend (p = 0.09) for shorter sick leave by dominant side involvement. The sick leave was longer in all three work level categories compared with the MD Guidelines and longer in the light and medium work categories compared with the recommendations by FK. Conclusions: According to the present study, acute traumatic rotator cuff tears cause a considerable loss of work days. However, almost all patients are expected to return to work after a median time of 5 months following arthroscopic repair. Current guidelines and recommendations regarding sick leave following repair of rotator cuff tears might have to be reviewed.


  • Knut E. Aagaard
  • Patrik Randeblad
  • Fikri M. Abu-Zidan
  • Karl Lunsjö
External organisations
  • Helsingborg Hospital
  • United Arab Emirates University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Orthopedics
  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • Acute rotator cuff tear, Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, Disability duration, Return to work, Shoulder trauma, Sick leave, Time away from work
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019 Jan 5
Publication categoryResearch