In the largest study to date to evaluate the long-term outcome of arthroscopic rotator-cuff repair (the standard of care for repairing rotator cuffs), researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York not only found that the procedure provided positive results five years after surgery but revealed that the rotator cuff has the ability to heal itself. Tendons that were incompletely healed at two years post-op appeared to be fully healed by five years, suggesting that rather than deteriorating over time, results may actually improve. The study involved 193 patients who underwent arthroscopic repair and were then evaluated annually for five years. After one year, 64.3 percent had a healed rotator cuff. The percentage went up to 75.4 percent at two years and 81.2 percent after five years. Despite the long-held belief that once a rotator cuff fails to heal following surgery it has no capacity to heal in the future, researchers said their results showed that a rotator cuff does in fact have the capacity to heal itself.