Rotator Cuff

Rotator Cuff

The MOON Shoulder group began studying rotator cuff tears in 2004. We began by determining the best way to assess and treat patients by conducting systematic reviews of the literature and completing studies on how best to classify and describe rotator cuff tears. Because the indications for surgical treatment were not well established and our group could not agree on them, our first study enrolled nearly 500 patients into a prospective cohort study where patients were treated with physical therapy. We hoped to determine the effectiveness of non-operative treatment, and identify indications for surgery for those who failed nonoperative treatment. We were surprised to see that over 75% of the patients treated non-operatively did well, and continued to do well for at least 7 years.  We are continuing to follow this cohort over time. This research has been the recipient of two Neer Awards from American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons and has led to a change in thought in how physicians manage atraumatic rotator cuff tears, avoiding surgery for many patients. This study is led by Dr. Jed Kuhn from Vanderbilt University.



Click on each site to see participating physicians and research staff.

Our Locations


We would like to thank the following funding agencies for supporting this research:

  • Arthrex Corporation-Unrestricted Research Gift
  • OREF/ASES/Rockwood Clinical Shoulder Research Family Endowment Fund
  • Supported in part by the Vanderbilt CTSA grantUL1 RR024975 from NCRR/NIH

Support Staff
We are extremely thankful to the support staff at each site for making this study possible.


Questions about the rotator cuff studies? 

Contact Rosemary Sanders: