Development of a rotator cuff tear after shoulder arthroplasty can adversely affect outcome. To assess the results of a subsequent procedure to repair the torn cuff, we reviewed all shoulder arthroplasties performed at our institution to identify patients who had a subsequent operation for cuff repair with or without component revision. We identified 19 patients and 20 involved shoulders. One patient was lost to follow-up, and one was excluded because the subsequent cuff repair could not be adequately accomplished. Patients were studied retrospectively a mean of 9.1 years after cuff repair by analysis of prospectively collected data supplemented by use of a questionnaire (10 shoulders). The presence of the tear was diagnosed preoperatively by physical examination or routine radiographs in 13 shoulders, an arthrogram in 3, and surgical exploration in 2. The tear involved the subscapularis in 7 shoulders, the supraspinatus in 15, and the infraspinatus in 8. Rotator cuff repair was successful in only 4 shoulders and was unsuccessful in the remaining 14. Pain was absent in 4 shoulders, slight in 6, occasionally moderate in 5, and moderate in 3. The mean visual analog pain score was 5.6. Range of motion was limited, with mean values for elevation of 78 degrees and external rotation of 54 degrees . Because results of subsequent cuff repair are poor, every attempt should be made to repair the cuff securely and carefully direct postoperative physical therapy.

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