Outcome and structural integrity after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair using 2 rows of fixation: minimum 2-year follow-up

Kyle Anderson, Michael Boothby, Daniel Aschenbrener, Marnix van Holsbeeck
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2006, 34 (12): 1899-905

BACKGROUND: Although arthroscopic repairs of the rotator cuff are becoming increasingly popular, security of fixation remains a concern. Two-row repairs have been described, but clinical outcome reports have primarily involved open techniques.

HYPOTHESIS: An arthroscopic repair technique that uses 2 rows of fixation produces satisfactory outcome and structural integrity by ultrasonography.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

METHODS: Forty-eight patients (52 shoulders) with a full-thickness, but fully reducible, rotator cuff tear who met the inclusion criteria were treated with an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair using 2 rows of suture anchors. The mean tear size was 2.47 cm (range, 1-4 cm). Patients were evaluated by subjective functional assessment (L'Insalata Shoulder Rating Questionnaire), clinical examination, including measured strength testing, and ultrasonography.

RESULTS: At a mean follow-up of 30 months (minimum of 2 years), functional scores improved from a mean of 42 preoperatively to 93 postoperatively (P < .001). Active range of motion was increased in all measured planes (P < .001). Strength was also increased in elevation (P < .001), external rotation (P < .001), and internal rotation (P = .033). Nine of the 52 shoulders (17%) had evidence of retear or persistent defect on postoperative ultrasonography. There were no differences detected in functional scores between those with an intact repair and those with a defect, but those with an intact repair were stronger in elevation (P = .006) and external rotation (P = .001).

CONCLUSION: An arthroscopic 2-row rotator cuff repair produces excellent functional outcome and repair integrity comparable with previously reported open repairs. Presence of a defect after repair did not appear to affect patient-reported function and return to preinjury activity but did affect measured strength.

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