Timing of steroid injections before rotator cuff surgery impacts infection risk


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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For patients undergoing arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery, previous steroid injections into the shoulder do not increase the risk of surgical site infection, unless the injection is administered within one month before surgery, according to a new research published in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

The study included data on more than 60,000 patients who had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff between 2007 and 2016. Of these, 12,060 patients underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair within one year of injection and 48,763 patients underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair without prior injection. 

The study found there was no significant difference in the incidence of surgical site infection in patients receiving a shoulder injection (0.7%) compared with the control cohort (0.8%). However, patients receiving an injection within one month prior to operative management had a significantly higher rate of surgical site infection at 1.3 per cent compared with the control group at 0.8 per cent. 

"If patients receive a corticosteroid injection to treat symptomatic rotator cuff tears, the results of this study suggest that physicians allow at least one month prior to proceeding with operative management to reduce postoperative infections,” the authors concluded. 

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