Acromioplasty & Rotator Cuff Repair
Moderate strength evidence does not support the routine use of acromioplasty as a concomitant treatment as compared to arthroscopic repair alone for patients with small to medium sized full-thickness rotator cuff tears.


Five high quality studies (Abrams, G. 2014; Garstman, G. 2004; MacDonald, P. 2011; Milano, G. 2007; Shin S. 2012) evaluated the effect of acromioplasty on rotator cuff repair of small and medium sized tears. Overall, acromioplasty did not have an effect on outcomes with the exception of one study which found a higher reoperation rate in patients without acromioplasty. Gartsman, et al. performed a randomized study on patients with supraspinatus tears and Type 2 acromions, with no difference in outcome.  Milano, et al. randomized 80 patients and similarly found no difference in outcomes after 2 years.  Abrams, et al. evaluated 52 patients, and also found no difference between groups.  Shin, et al. similarly found no differences in randomized groups with varying acromial morphology included in both groups.

MacDonald, et al. evaluated 86 randomized patients with and without acomioplasty and also found no difference in patients reported outcomes, however, there was a higher reoperation rate in the group without acromioplasty.  Four of the patients subsequently had second surgery for acromioplasty.  One had a type 2 acromion and the others had type 3 acromions.

Risks and Harms of Implementing this Recommendation
There are no harms in associated in implementing this recommendation. There were no reported statistical differences between primary or secondary repair, when physical therapy fails (p=0.23). (Moosmayer S 2014)

Future Research
Continued long term comparative studies between physical therapy and surgical repair investigating larger tear sizes with pre-and postoperative advanced imaging studies. The long-term consequences of a persistent rotator cuff tear or a re-tear is currently not known.