Started 26th Aug, 2018
  • OVZ München

Return to work after rotator cuff repair

What do you recommend your patients after rotator cuff repair concerning return to work?
- Do you give general recommendations?
- Do you differ between physical vs. non-physical workload?
-Do you asses the capa to return to work by time and/or functional testing?

All replies (2)

Nelson Elias
Vila Velha Hospital
Dear Tim
The ability to return to work after a rotator cuff repair depends a lot on what type of work you do.
This article may be useful for you: Farhad O. Moola MD, Inc. Orthopedic Surgery University of British Columbia Trauma • Hand Surgery • Shoulder & Elbow Reconstruction
For most sedentary jobs, I recommend taking one to two weeks off work.
When you return to work your arm will be in a sling (for 4-6 weeks after surgery), but you should be able to manage as long as you do no lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying.
Light duty work involving no lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying may begin within four weeks after surgery.
Work at waist level lifting 5-10 pounds can begin 3-4 months after surgery.
Work at shoulder level can begin 3-6 months after surgery.
Heavy lifting or overhead use may require 6-12 months before full recovery and work return
1 Recommendation
Tim Saier
OVZ München
Dear Nelson,
thank you very much for your reply.
I agree on the timeframe you mention.
In 2016 Jung et al. published an interesting review about rehabilitation following rotator cuff repair in „Obere Extremität“ (in German). They propose a rehabilitation protocol divided in 4 phases (over 4 months). Unfortunately, return to work (but return to sport) is mentioned.

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