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Background: Being overweight or obese is associated with poor outcomes and an increased risk of failure after rotator cuff (RC) surgery. However, the effect of obesity on enthesis healing has not been well characterized. Hypotheses: Diet-induced obesity (DIO) would result in inferior enthesis healing in a rat model of RC repair, and a dietary intervention in the perioperative period would improve enthesis healing. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 3 weight-matched groups (n = 26 per group): control diet (CD), high-fat diet (HFD), or HFD until surgery and then CD thereafter (HF-CD). After 12 weeks, the left supraspinatus tendon was detached, followed by immediate repair. Animals were sacrificed, and RCs were harvested at 2 and 12 weeks after surgery for biomechanical and histological evaluations. Metabolic end points were assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and plasma analyses. Results: DIO was established in the HFD and HF-CD groups before surgery and subsequently reversed in the HF-CD group after surgery. At 12 weeks after surgery, the body fat percentage (P =.0021) and plasma leptin concentration (P =.0025) were higher in the HFD group compared with the CD group. Histologically, the appearance of the repaired entheses was poorer in both the HFD and HF-CD groups compared with the CD group at 12 weeks after surgery, with semiquantitative scores of 6.20 (P =.0078), 4.98 (P =.0003), and 8.68 of 15, respectively. The repaired entheses in the HF-CD group had a significantly lower load to failure (P =.0278) at 12 weeks after surgery compared with the CD group, while the load to failure in the HFD group was low but not significantly different (P =.0960). There were no differences in the biomechanical and histological results between the groups at 2 weeks after surgery. Body mass at the time of surgery, plasma leptin concentration, and body fat percentage were negatively correlated with histology scores and plasma leptin concentration was correlated with load to failure at 12 weeks after surgery. Conclusion: DIO impaired enthesis healing in this rat RC repair model, with inferior biomechanical and histological outcomes. Restoring a normal weight with dietary changes after surgery did not improve healing outcomes. Clinical Relevance: Obesity is a potentially modifiable factor that impairs RC healing and increases the risk of failure after surgery. Exploring interventions that improve the metabolic state of obese patients and counseling patients appropriately about their modest expectations after repair should be considered.

Original publication




Journal article


American journal of sports medicine

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