The Effect of Hand Dominance on Functional Outcome Following Single Row Rotator Cuff Repair

Michael A. Kelly1, *, Ciarán K. Mc Donald1, *, Aidan Boland2, Patrick J Groarke1, Ken Kaar1
1 Department of Trauma and Orthopedics, UCH Galway, Galway, Ireland
2 Department of Biomedical Statistics, UCD, Dublin, Ireland

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© 2017 Kelly et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to these authors at Department of Trauma and Orthopedics, University College Hospital Galway, Galway city, Newcastle road, Galway, Ireland; Tel: 0035387132413; E-mail:



Rotator cuff tears are a common cause of shoulder disability and pain. Excellent outcomes can be obtained with surgical treatment although this outcome is affected by several factors. We sought to investigate the effect of hand dominance on subjective functional outcome post rotator cuff repair.


All patients who had rotator cuff repair over a calendar year were identified and followed up at 3 years post operatively. Patients were consented for inclusion in the study and demographic data, hand dominance and functional outcome data was collected. L’insalata shoulder questionnaire was used for outcome data collection. SPSS version 22 was used for statistical analysis where appropriate.


144 patients were included in this study. Mean age was 63 +/- 10.1 years in the dominant side group and 62 +/- 8.6 years in the non-dominant group. 92 patients had dominant side surgery and 52 had non-dominant side surgery. There was a statistically significant correlation between dominant hand and operated side (P=0.005). The mean overall outcome score was marginally higher in the dominant surgery group with a mean of 89.8 +/- 14.2 compared with a mean of 87.4 +/- 17.5 in the non-dominant group. Multi-variate linear regression analysis revealed this difference to be non-significant (p = 0.4).


No difference was found in the functional outcome of rotator cuff repair between dominant and non-dominant side surgery. This information will help in counselling patients who are concerned about the potential impact of rotator cuff repair on the function of their dominant hand.