Patients Undergoing Shoulder Stabilization Procedures Do Not Accurately Recall Their Preoperative Symptoms at Short- to Midterm Follow-up Academic Article uri icon


  • Background:A patient's ability to recall symptoms is poor in some elderly populations, but we considered that the recall of younger patients may be more accurate. The accuracy of recall in younger patients after surgery has not been reported to date. Purpose:To assess younger patients' abilities to recall their preoperative symptoms after having undergone shoulder stabilization surgery. We used 2 disease-specific, patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs)-the Western Ontario Shoulder Instability Index (WOSI) and the Melbourne Instability Shoulder Score (MISS)-at a period of up to 2 years postoperatively. Study Design:Cohort study (diagnosis); Level of evidence, 2. Methods:Participants (N = 119) were stratified into 2 groups: early recall (at 6-8 months postoperatively; n = 58) and late recall (at 9-24 months postoperatively; n = 61). All patients completed the PROMs with instructions to recall preoperative function. The mean and absolute differences between the preoperative scores and recalled scores for each PROM were compared using paired t tests. Correlations between the actual and recalled scores of the subsections for each PROM were calculated using an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). The number of individuals who recalled within the minimal detectable change (MDC) of each PROM was calculated. Results:Comparison between the means of the actual and recalled preoperative scores for both groups did not demonstrate significant differences (early recall differences, MISS 1.05 and WOSI -38.64; late recall differences, MISS -0.25 and WOSI -24.02). Evaluation of the absolute difference, however, revealed a significant difference between actual and recalled scores for both the late and early groups (early recall absolute differences, MISS 12.26 and WOSI 216.71; late recall absolute differences, MISS 12.84 and WOSI 290.08). Average absolute differences were above the MDC scores of both PROMs at both time points. Subsections of each PROM demonstrated weak to moderate correlations between actual and recalled scores (ICC range, 0.17-0.61). Total scores for the PROMs reached moderate agreement between actual and recalled scores. Conclusion:Individual recall after shoulder instability surgery was not accurate. However, the mean recalled PROM scores of each group were not significantly different from the actual scores collected preoperatively, and recall did not deteriorate significantly over 2 years. This suggests that recall of the individual, even in this younger group, cannot be considered accurate for research purposes.


publication date

  • 2019