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Elderly Can Benefit From Rotator Cuff Surgery, Too

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The size of the tear had direct bearing on the outcome of the patient. All patients with small or medium tears had excellent or satisfactory results. Patients with large and massive tears had more varied results.

"I think there was a fear that the tissues of the rotator cuff [in older people] weren't going to be adequate to allow them to be repaired to begin with," says McGillivary, noting that older people are more likely to have a larger cuff tear due to deterioration. "I think this demonstrates that this is not necessarily the case, but I think a lot of [orthopaedists] knew this anyway."

The bottom line, says McGillivary, "is that just because you are 75 and having a lot of shoulder pain from your cuff doesn't mean that it is not correctable if the [conservative approach] doesn't work."

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