Return to Driving After Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair: Patient-Reported Safety and Maneuverability


This survey investigated patients’ return to driving after rotator cuff surgery, to determine whether pain, weakness, sling use, and narcotics correlate with self-assessed safety and maneuvering. Fifty-four patients (80.6% of those eligible) were surveyed 4 months after surgery. Return to driving ranged widely from same day to 4 months, with two not driving at 4 months; 12% reported narcotics use and 33% reported sling use. Drivers reporting weakness were more likely to feel unsafe (p D .02) and more likely to report difficulty maneuvering (p < .01). Drivers reporting pain were more likely to feel unsafe (p < .01) and more likely to report difficulty maneuvering their vehicle (p < .01). Patient-reported return to driving does not correspond to perceived safety; pain and weakness correspond with feeling unsafe and difficulty maneuvering. Although subjective, clinicians may find these self-assessments predictive when counseling patients on return to driving. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 24(2):125–129, 2015) Key words: arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, narcotic use in driving, patient-reported recovery, predictors of safe driving, return to driving, rotator cuff surgery

J. Joseph Gholson, MD; Albert Lin, MD; Timothy McGlaston, MD; Joseph DeAngelis, MD; and Arun Ramappa, MD