Open Versus Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair: A Comparative View of 96 Cases

Orthopaedic Department, Regional Hospital Tafers, Fribourg, Switzerland.
Arthroscopy The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery (Impact Factor: 3.19). 06/2005; 21(5):597-604. DOI: 10.1016/j.arthro.2005.01.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study was performed to review and compare the outcome of a consecutive series of 96 rotator cuff repairs performed with an open versus arthroscopic technique. The arthroscopic repairs include the beginning of the learning curve.
Case series.
In a 24-month period from 1999 to 2001, 95 patients underwent a cuff repair with bony reattachment by 1 surgeon; 4 patients had surgery on both shoulders. We present subjective outcome data from 96 of 99 operated shoulders by the use of a visual analog scale (VAS), the Simple Shoulder Test (SST), and the question of overall patient satisfaction. Thirty shoulders undergoing surgery before February 2000 had open cuff repair (12 classic open, 18 mini-open) and 66 shoulders undergoing surgery after February 2000 had an arthroscopic cuff repair with suture anchors. All but 3 shoulders had the supraspinatus/infraspinatus tendon refixed, 32% had a subscapularis reattachment, and 21% an additional SLAP repair.
Groups A (30 shoulders, open repair) and B (66 shoulders, arthroscopic repair) were comparable concerning tear size, cause of the tear, professional shoulder strain, and preoperative pain intensity. At follow-up evaluation (15-40 months after surgery), group B had significantly better pain relief on the VAS (P < .05), more yes answers in the SST (9.7 vs. 8.7, not significant), and a higher patient satisfaction rate of 92.4% versus 80% (not significant). From the 12 questions of the SST, all but 1 showed a higher percentage of yes answers in group B; for 3 questions concerning mobility the difference was significant (P < .07). There was no correlation between tear size and outcome in the SST.
Arthroscopic cuff repair yielded equal or better results than open repair, even at the beginning of the learning curve. Patients with an arthroscopic repair had a significantly better decrease in pain and a better functional result concerning mobility. Arthroscopic repair is successful for large and small tears. Biomechanically, large tears might even benefit more than small ones.
Level IV.

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