Clinical and cost-effectiveness of individualised (early) patient-directed rehabilitation versus standard rehabilitation after surgical repair of the rotator cuff of the shoulder: protocol for a multi-centre, randomised controlled trial with integrated Quintet Recruitment Intervention (RaCeR 2)

Bruno Mazuquin, Maria Moffatt, Alba Realpe, Rachelle Sherman, Katie Ireland, Zak Connan, Jack Tildsley, Andrea Manca, Vijay Singh GC, Nadine Foster, Jonathan Rees, Steven Drew, Marcus Bateman, Apostolos Fakis, Malin Farnsworth, Chris Littlewood

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INTRODUCTION: Despite the high number of operations and surgical advancement, rehabilitation after rotator cuff repair has not progressed for over 20 years. The traditional cautious approach might be contributing to suboptimal outcomes. Our aim is to assess whether individualised (early) patient-directed rehabilitation results in less shoulder pain and disability at 12 weeks after surgical repair of full-thickness tears of the rotator cuff compared with current standard (delayed) rehabilitation.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The rehabilitation after rotator cuff repair (RaCeR 2) study is a pragmatic multicentre, open-label, randomised controlled trial with internal pilot phase. It has a parallel group design with 1:1 allocation ratio, full health economic evaluation and quintet recruitment intervention. Adults awaiting arthroscopic surgical repair of a full-thickness tear are eligible to participate. On completion of surgery, 638 participants will be randomised. The intervention (individualised early patient-directed rehabilitation) includes advice to the patient to remove their sling as soon as they feel able, gradually begin using their arm as they feel able and a specific exercise programme. Sling removal and movement is progressed by the patient over time according to agreed goals and within their own pain and tolerance. The comparator (standard rehabilitation) includes advice to the patient to wear the sling for at least 4 weeks and only to remove while eating, washing, dressing or performing specific exercises. Progression is according to specific timeframes rather than as the patient feels able. The primary outcome measure is the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index total score at 12-week postrandomisation. The trial timeline is 56 months in total, from September 2022.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere081284
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024

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