Objective: To determine the plasma levels of substance P (SP) in patients with postoperative stiffness after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.<br> Design: Plasma samples were obtained at 15 months from surgery from 2 groups of patients who underwent arthroscopic repair of a rotator cuff tear. In Group 1, 30 subjects (14 men and 16 women, mean age: 64.6 years, range 47 to 78) with shoulder stiffness 15 months after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair were recruited. In Group 2, 30 patients (11 men and 19 women, mean age: 57.8 years, range 45 to 77) were evaluated 15 months after successful arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Immunoassays were performed with commercially available assay kits to detect the plasma levels of SP.<br> Results: The mean plasma levels of SP in patients with postoperative stiffness were significantly greater than those in the control group (81.06 ± 27.76 versus 23.49 ± 5.64, P < 0.05). <br> Conclusions: The plasma concentrations of substance P in patients with shoulder stiffness after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair are higher compared to plasma levels of SP in patients with a good postoperative outcome. The neuronal up-regulation of SP shown in the plasma of patients with post operative shoulder stiffness may underlay not only the symptoms of adhesive capsulitis, but also its development.
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