Treatment options for massive rotator cuff tears

Balgrist University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.
Journal of shoulder and elbow surgery / American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons ... [et al.] (Impact Factor: 2.29). 03/2011; 20(2):S20-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.jse.2010.11.028
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    ABSTRACT: The present article summarizes current trends in arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs focusing on the used repair technique, potential influencing factors on the results, and long-term outcome after reconstruction of the rotator cuff. Moreover, different treatment options for the treatment for irreparable rotator cuff ruptures were described, and the results of additional augmentation of the repairs with platelet-rich plasma were critically analyzed. Based on the current literature, double-row repairs did not achieve superior clinical results compared to single-row repairs neither in the clinical results nor in the re-rupture rate. Multiple factors such as age, fatty infiltration, and initial rupture size might influence the results. If the rupture is not repairable, various options were described including cuff debridement, partial repair, tuberoplasty, or tendon transfers. The additional augmentation with platelet-rich plasma did not reveal any significant differences in the healing rate compared to conventional rotator cuff repairs. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: IV.
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to (1) evaluate the long-term functional outcome of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair of massive rotator cuff tears (RCTs) and (2) compare double-row (DR) and single-row (SR) repairs. This was a retrospective review of massive RCTs treated with an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair over an 8-year period. Minimum 5-year follow-up was available for 126 repairs at a mean of 99 months. Among 107 complete repairs, there were 62 SR and 45 DR repairs. Functional outcome was determined by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons scores. A multivariate analysis was performed to examine the role of a DR repair. For all repairs combined, improvements were observed in forward flexion (132° v 168°), pain (6.3 v 1.3), UCLA score (15.7 v 30.7), and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score (41.7 v 85.7) (P < .001). A good or excellent outcome, obtained in 78% of cases, was associated with a complete repair (P = .035) and a DR repair (P = .008). When we excluded partial repairs, postoperative UCLA gain was greater after a DR repair (P = .007). Patients reported their shoulder as feeling closer to normal after a DR repair compared with an SR repair (93.5% v 84.4%, P = .006). A DR repair was 4.9 times more likely to lead to a good or excellent outcome (P = .021). When a DR repair of a massive RCT is possible, on the basis of the ability to mobilize the tendons, a better long-term functional outcome can be expected compared with an SR repair. Given the known high risk of recurrence after repair of massive RCTs and the knowledge that functional outcome is related to recurrence, a DR repair of massive RCTs should be performed when there is sufficient tendon mobility.
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    ABSTRACT: Latissimus dorsi transfer is our preferred treatment for active disabled patients with a posterosuperior massive cuff tear. We present an arthroscopically assisted technique which avoids an incision through the deltoid obtaining a better and faster clinical outcome. The patient is placed in lateral decubitus. After the arthroscopic evaluation of the lesion through a posterior and a posterolateral portal, with the limb in traction we perform the preparation of the greater tuberosity of the humerus. We place the arm in abduction and internal rotation and we proceed to the harvest of the latissimus dorsi and the tendon preparation by stitching the two sides using very resistant sutures. After restoring limb traction, under arthroscopic visualization, we pass a curved grasper through the posterolateral portal by going to the armpit in the space between the teres minor and the posterior deltoid. Once the grasper has exited the access at the level of the axilla we fix two drainage transparent tubes, each with a wire inside, and, withdrawing it back, we shuttle the two tubes in the subacromial space. After tensioning the suture wires from the anterior portals these are assembled in a knotless anchor of 5.5 mm that we place in the prepared site on the greater tuberosity of the humerus. A shoulder brace at 15° of abduction and neutral rotation protect the patient for the first month post-surgery but physical therapy can immediately start.
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