Patients with high cholesterol at a higher risk for rotator cuff surgery failure

rotator-cuff-surgery-failureHigh cholesterol is linked to a number of health problems, and now the latest research findings presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) suggest that patients who undergo a rotator cuff surgery have a higher risk of surgery failure if they have high cholesterol. On the other hand, taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) has helped improve surgery outcomes.

Lead author Brian C. Werner explained, “The study found an association between the use of statin lipid-lowering agents and mitigation of the risk for revision surgery, even in patients with elevated cholesterol levels.”


Every year, an estimated 200,000 Americans undergo rotator cuff surgery, which helps repair the muscles and tendons in the shoulder.

The researchers looked at data from nearly 31,000 patients who underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Patients were divided into groups based on their cholesterol levels: normal, moderate, and high.

Findings of the study unveiled that patients with moderate to high cholesterol had higher rate of surgery revisions. Of these patients, those who were not on statins prior to or after the surgery had higher rates of revision surgery, compared to those who were taking the medication. In fact, all patients taking statins did not have higher rates of revision, even those with high cholesterol. Lastly, triglyceride levels had no impact on surgery outcomes.
Dr. Werner concluded, “Additional study of the association between statins and rotator cuff surgical outcomes is encouraged to determine if improved cholesterol control can improve clinical outcomes following arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.”

This study goes to show yet another reason why maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is imperative for good health.
Although statins can help reduce cholesterol levels, so can healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercising regularly, eating a diet high in fiber, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Related: How much cholesterol should you have a day?

Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.


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