Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised, prospective, comparative trials were eligible for inclusion. The mean follow-up duration ranged from 3 months to 8 years.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of open versus arthroscopic acromioplasty were eligible for inclusion. The arthroscopic techniques evaluated included the posterior and lateral approaches, while the open approaches were those of Neer, and Neviaser and Neviaser.
Participants included in the review
Studies of patients undergoing subacromial decompression for rotator cuff tendonitis were eligible for inclusion. The mean age of the participants was between 39 and 51 years, the proportion of males ranged from 42 to 70%, and the average symptom duration ranged from 16 months to 5.1 years, across the arms of the trials.
Outcomes assessed in the review
No specific inclusion criteria were stated for the outcomes. The primary outcome of interest was pain relief, which was presented as changes in the visual analogue scale (VAS). The secondary outcome variables were measures of function (degree of external rotation, degree of internal rotation and anterior deltoid strength), UCLA shoulder score, duration of surgery and how long it took for patients to return to work or normal activity.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
Seven reviewers reviewed the full papers and discussed them in a journal club format. It is unclear how decisions at the title and abstract stage were made.