Mental health status, not resilience, influences functional recovery after arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs

Adam C. Hines, Stephan G. Pill, Nathan Boes, Beth Reuschel, Adam Lutz, Charles A. Thigpen, Ellen Shanley, Michael J. Kissenberth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Recent literature has shown the importance of patient psychosocial status in overcoming stressful events, such as surgery. Resilience, the ability to “bounce back” from adversity, has been recently correlated to outcomes following arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (RCR). Overall mental well-being has also been shown to be important because patients with clinical depression and anxiety may have worse outcomes. Substantial clinical benefit (SCB) is the threshold of outcome improvement that a patient perceives as considerable. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of preoperative resilience, mental health status, and rotator cuff tear size on patient outcome recovery measured by the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) score. Methods: Patients undergoing arthroscopic RCR performed from 2016 through 2019 at a single tertiary institution by fellowship-trained sports surgeons with a high-volume shoulder practice were included. The Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) score and Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey (VR-12) Mental Component Score (MCS) were collected preoperatively. ASES scores were obtained preoperatively, as well as 6 and 12 months postoperatively. Patients were divided into 2 groups based on the SCB threshold of 87 for the ASES score based on validated, established literature. Rotator cuff tear size was classified as small (≤3 cm) or large (>3 cm). VR-12 MCS, BRS, and ASES scores were compared at baseline, 6 months, and 1 year using separate mixed-model analyses of variance between the tear size and SCB groups. For ASES score comparison, the VR-12 MCS was used as a covariate to account for differences in baseline mental status. Results: RCR was performed in 119 patients, with an average age of 61 years (standard deviation, 10 years). There were 71 male and 48 female patients. At 6 months, 43% of patients met the SCB threshold. The VR-12 MCS was significantly different between RCR patients who met the SCB threshold for the ASES score and those who did not at 6 and 12 months for large rotator cuff tears (P =.001) but not small tears (P =.07). The BRS score was not different between the tear size and SCB groups at any time point (P =.12). Conclusion: Our results show that patients who met the SCB threshold at 6 months postoperatively after arthroscopic RCR demonstrated higher preoperative VR-12 MCS values; however, higher preoperative BRS scores were not seen in those meeting the SCB threshold. In fact, when baseline VR-12 MCS values were accounted for in patients with large rotator cuff tears, the differences in ASES scores normalized. This finding suggests that baseline mental health status, as measured by the VR-12 MCS, significantly influenced patients’ functional recovery following RCR. Future research should focus on preoperative psychosocial well-being to optimize postoperative outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S117-S122
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • ASES
  • large rotator cuff tears
  • Level III
  • Prognosis Study
  • Resilience
  • Retrospective Cohort Comparison
  • rotator cuff repair
  • significant clinical benefit
  • VR-12

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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