Early structural and functional outcomes for arthroscopic double-row transosseous-equivalent rotator cuff repair

Bruno Toussaint, Erik Schnaser, Jacob Bosley, Yves Lefebvre, Reuben Gobezie
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2011, 39 (6): 1217-25

BACKGROUND: The arthroscopic double-row transosseous-equivalent (TOE) rotator cuff repair is growing in popularity. The current body of literature supports this technique; however, the number of patients in these studies is relatively small. The authors conducted this study to learn more about the natural history of this construct in a large sample of patients.

HYPOTHESIS: The double-row TOE rotator cuff repair will have an acceptable structural failure rate with improved clinical outcomes at 1-year follow-up.

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

METHODS: Between June 2006 and October 2007, 225 patients underwent an all-arthroscopic rotator cuff repair at 2 surgical centers. A total of 155 TOE primary rotator cuff repairs were performed, and 154 of these patients met the inclusion criteria. Assessment of structural integrity was based on evaluation of postoperative magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography arthrogram at a minimum of 12 months after surgery. The Constant scores, visual analog pain scale, range of motion, strength, and complications were the clinical outcomes analyzed for the study. Seventeen patients (of 154) had postoperative shoulder stiffness at follow-up.

RESULTS: The 154 patients were clinically and radiologically evaluated at a mean of 15 months postoperatively (range, 12-26.1 months). The study included 47 small (30.5%), 89 large (57.1%), and 19 massive (12.3%) rotator cuff tears. Analysis of postoperative imaging demonstrated that 92%, 83%, and 84% of the small, large, and massive rotator cuff tears, respectively, were intact. The mean Constant score improved from 44.42 points preoperatively to 80.47 points postoperatively (P < .001). The mean preoperative pain score improved from 3.83 to 12.77 (P < .001) postoperatively. The mean forward flexion improved from 123.06° preoperatively to 162.39° postoperatively (P < .001). Seventeen patients (of 154) had postoperative shoulder stiffness at follow-up.

CONCLUSION: The short-term results of this study indicate that the clinical outcomes and structural integrity of TOE double-row rotator cuff repair (the suture-bridge technique) have results that compare favorably with those reported for other double-row suture anchor techniques employed in rotator cuff repairs. Long-term follow-up will be necessary to determine if the durability of these repairs and the structural integrity of these constructs maintain their performance over time.

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