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BACKGROUND: The present study aimed to compare medium-term clinical outcomes of patients following arthroscopic subacromial decompression (ASAD): those with intact rotator cuff with two groups of increasing size of partial thickness bursal-side tears. METHODS: Patients undergoing shoulder arthroscopy by a single surgeon had pre- and postoperative Constant scores prospectively recorded. Arthroscopic surgery included the assessment of any supraspinatus tears using the Ellman criteria, as well as ASAD and cuff debridement. Groups were created based on the status of rotator cuff and size of bursal tear. Outcome in these patient groups was then compared and analyzed. RESULTS: Seventy-four patients were suitable for inclusion in the study: 32 patients without a cuff tear; 21 patients with a cuff tear of 9 mm or less in length; and 21 patients with a cuff tear of 10 mm or more in length. Baseline characteristics of the three groups were similar. All three groups showed a significant improvement in their Constant scores following surgery. There was, however, no significant difference in Constant scores between the three groups. CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study show that patients with varying sizes of bursal-side tears respond to ASAD as well as those with no rotator cuff tear.

Original publication




Journal article


Shoulder elbow

Publication Date





24 - 28


ASAD, Arthroscopic subacromial decompression, partial thickness rotator cuff tears