Korean J Pain.  2020 Oct;33(4):344-351. 10.3344/kjp.2020.33.4.344.

The effect of postoperatively applied far-infrared radiation on pain and tendon-to-bone healing after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair: a clinical prospective randomized comparative study

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National Police Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Bundang Jesaeng Genenral Hospital, Seongnam, Korea
  • 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Sun’s Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Incheon Sarang Hospital, Incheon, Korea
  • 5Department of Orthopeadic Surgery, Kyung Hee University College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 6Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea

Abstract

Background
The effects of far-infrared radiation (FIR) on the treatment of rotator cuff diseases remains unknown. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of FIR after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair with regard to postoperative pain and healing.
Methods
This prospective randomized comparative study included 38 patients who underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair due to a medium-sized tear. Patients were randomly divided into the FIR or control group (n = 19 per group). In the FIR group, FIR with an FIR radiator started 1 week postoperatively for 30 minutes per session twice daily. It lasted until abduction brace weaning at 5 weeks postoperatively. We assessed pain using a pain visual analogue scale (pVAS) and measured the range of motion (ROM) of the shoulder at 5 weeks, and 3 and 6 months, postoperatively. The anatomical outcome was evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging at 6 months postoperatively.
Results
At 5 weeks postoperatively, the average pVAS score was lower in the FIR group than in the control group (1.5 ± 0.8 vs. 2.7 ± 1.7; P = 0.019). At 3 months postoperatively, the average forward flexion was higher in the FIR group (151.6° ± 15.3° vs. 132.9° ± 27.8°;P = 0.045), but there was no significant difference at 6 months postoperatively. There was no significant difference in healing failure between the groups (P = 0.999).
Conclusions
FIR after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair could be an effective and safe procedure to reduce postoperative pain, thereby facilitating rehabilitation and better ROM in the early postoperative period.

Keyword

Far-infrared Radiation; Pain Visual Analog Scale; Postoperative Pain; Range of Motion; Rehabilitation; Rotator Cuff Repair; Rotator Cuff Tears; Shoulder Pain
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