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Time scale 2007-2015
Funder NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme (HTA)
In collaboration with NDORMS (Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences), University of Oxford
Centre for Healthcare Randomised Trials, Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen
Further information Alastair Gray

  UKUFF trial website

Shoulder problems account for 2.4% of GP consultations in the UK and are a significant socioeconomic burden, resulting in time out of employment and reduced physical ability at work or around the home.

UKUFF: United Kingdom Rotator Cuff Trial is a randomised trial to compare surgical procedures for tears of the rotator cuff. Rotator cuff disorders are responsible for between 30% and 70% of shoulder problems. Tears in the rotator cuff (a group of muscles and tendons that control shoulder movement) may be repaired using either open surgery or arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery.

  • Arthroscopic Repair – where the tear is repaired through key-hole surgery, and
  • Open/mini-Open Repair – involving a longer skin incision to undertake the procedure under direct vision.

Patients were followed up for 2 years, and outcomes assessed using the Oxford Shoulder Score and the EQ-5D.

HERC researchers have recently been working in collaboration with researchers at the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford, on the UK Rotator Cuff Surgery (UKUFF) randomised trial. Funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme, the trial compared open and arthroscopic management in patients with degenerative full-thickness rotator cuff tears, aged 50 years and above in 47 hospitals in the UK.

The primary objective of the study was to compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of arthroscopic and open surgical repair for the treatment of degenerative rotator cuff tears. The economic analysis was conducted using the resource use, unit cost, and quality of life data collected as part of the study.

The main trial results (clinical and cost-effectiveness) were published in the NIHR HTA Journal in November 2015, and additional analyses using the study data are in progress.