I am 55 and had surgery to repair a tear in my rotator cuff last year. My recovery's been good so far. Can I expect these results to last?

In all likelihood, yes. A recent study looked at 33 patients about your age who had this kind of surgery. Two and ten years after surgery, patients completed questionnaires about their pain and ability to do daily activities. This information, along with patients' shoulder strength, went into a "grade" for each patient.

Two years after surgery, 88 percent of the patients got "good" or "excellent" grades for surgery results. At ten years, 91 percent were graded as "good" or "excellent." From this study, it looks like the results of this surgery don't deteriorate over time. They may even get better.

The authors pointed out that patients' activity levels went down between the two follow-ups. Also, many patients retired. Surgery results may seem better as patients get older because shoulders get less of a workout. Whatever the reason, you can probably look forward to ongoing good results in the coming years.