The goals of this study were to establish the occupational outcome after surgery in patients with a rotator cuff tear from a work-related injury (WRI) or occupational disease (OD) and determine which factors and conditions affected return to work. Hypothesis: return to work was possible for this type of patient. This questionnaire-based study comprised 262 shoulders in 254 patients with a WRI/OD who had surgery performed on their shoulder between 2000 and 2005. The average age was 50.5±6.4years. The following variables were analysed: employment status (private sector, self-employed, government employee), type of work (non-manual, manual, heavy manual labour), nature of tendon injury and surgical technique (open, mini-open and arthroscopy). Return to work occurred in 59.5% of the cases. Factors that prevented return to work (40.4% of the cases) included retirement (14.1%), an unrelated medical condition (10.3%), and the outcome of the operated shoulder (16.0%). Age had an impact on return to work (P<5×10−4). The type of work and nature of tendon injury did not affect return to work, but did affect time away from work. Employment status and surgical technique had an effect on return to work, but not on time away from work. Age was a decisive factor for return to work. Retirement seemed to be the most common choice starting at 55 years of age. Arthroscopy seemed to have reduced the impact of the WRI on the results, particularly on the time away from work. A preoperative evaluation of the patient’s probability of returning to work should be done based on occupational and injury features. There may be a longer delay in returning to work for certain profiles of work (manual labour) and tendon injury. Patient management can be improved by knowing the factors and conditions that influence return to work.
Level of evidence
Level IV - Retrospective study.
Keywords : Rotator cuff, Tear, Repair, Work-related injury, Occupational disease, Work