Although reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) is beneficial in the treatment of cuff tear arthropathy (CTA), the patient’s inability to recall their previous shoulder condition may bias their view of the procedure’s effectiveness. Identifying patients prone to significant recollection bias before surgery can assist surgeons in counseling patients about what to anticipate following surgery. For a study, researchers sought to see if patients undergoing RTSA are prone to recall bias and, if so, what characteristics are related to poor remembrance.

The senior author selected patients who received RTSA for CTA between September 2016 and September 2018. At the time of preoperative evaluation, all patients completed the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES scores) Standardized Assessment Form. Patients were contacted at least 24 months following surgery to assess their preoperative status retrospectively.

At 28.3±7.3 months postoperatively, 72 patients with a mean age of 72.2±7.65 years had a retrospective shoulder examination. The patient’s rating of his or her shoulder condition was unreliable (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.453, confidence range, 0.237-0.623). Greater differences between preoperative and recall ASES ratings were linked with higher preoperative shoulder ASES scores (β=0.275, P<0.001).

Patients undergoing RTSA for CTA are at risk of clinically substantial recollection bias. Individuals with better preoperative circumstances recall worse preoperative shoulder conditions than patients with worse preoperative conditions and are more prone to recall bias.