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Professor Jonathan Rees and colleagues in the Surgical Intervention Trials Unit (SITU) have just been awarded a £1.5 million National Institute of Health Research HTA grant for the PRoCuRe trial to explore the benefits of surgical repair of partial rotator cuff tendon tears of the shoulder.

Professor Jonathan Rees

Rotator cuff problems are the most common cause of shoulder pain and disability, affecting people with day to day activities, work, recreation and sleep. These tears can be full tears through the whole tendon or only partially through. Partial tears are usually treated in the NHS first with physiotherapy and a steroid injection but then surgery if the patient does not get better.

Professor Rees, Section Head Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgery at the Botnar Research Centre, NDORMS says: "Surgery for full tears is one of the most common shoulder operations in the UK but for partial tears we still don't know if surgical repair gives patients a better result in the short term, or whether it prevents full tears developing in the long term. UK patients and surgeons have prioirtised a need to answer this question which is why this trial has been funded by the HTA."

The PRoCuRe trial will take place across 20 NHS hospitals in the UK, recruiting adult patients , who have partial tears of the rotator cuff tendon and persistent shoulder pain after physiotherapy and injection treatments. The randomised controlled trial will compare arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery that cleans, tidies and repairs the tear, to a procedure that just cleans and tidies the tear. The team will monitor how well patients recover firstly over 2 years and then over 5 years.

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