Badger reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
For patients undergoing rotator cuff repair, a safe return to driving can be made as early as 2 weeks after surgery with no clinically important negative impact on driving fitness, according to published results.
Using an instrumented vehicle equipped with cameras and an onboard safety monitor, Ariel E. Badger, MS, and colleagues analyzed preoperative vs. postoperative driving fitness in 27 patients (mean age of 58.6 years) who underwent primary rotator cuff repair (RCR).
Badger and colleagues evaluated several kinematic driving measures and behavioral data, such as parking, left turns, right turns, straightaways, yielding, merging and U-turns. According to the study, the course included 15 miles of public streets and took 45 to 55 minutes to complete. A total of five drives were included in the analysis. Performance was evaluated preoperatively and at 2, 4, 6 and 12 weeks after RCR.
Among the 13 analyzed kinematic metrics, noninferiority was exhibited across all postoperative drives compared with baseline drives. Researchers noted patients braked less aggressively, steered more smoothly and drove with more stability at 2 weeks postoperatively. Performance of specific maneuver types also exhibited noninferiority compared with baseline drives.
“Any surgical interventions that have surgeon-imposed driving restrictions, such as RCRs, are potentially detrimental to patients’ overall well-being,” the researchers wrote in the study. “From our data, we recommend updated guidelines stating that, in the absence of other factors known to impair driving, patients who were able to drive prior to the surgical procedure may resume driving at 2 weeks following RCR.”