Ultrasound evaluation of arthroscopic full-thickness supraspinatus rotator cuff repair: single-row versus double-row suture bridge (transosseous equivalent) fixation. Results of a prospective, randomized study

Gary M Gartsman, Gregory Drake, T Bradley Edwards, Hussein A Elkousy, Steven M Hammerman, Daniel P O'Connor, Cyrus M Press
Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 2013, 22 (11): 1480-7

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to compare the structural outcomes of a single-row rotator cuff repair and double-row suture bridge fixation after arthroscopic repair of a full-thickness supraspinatus rotator cuff tear.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We evaluated with diagnostic ultrasound a consecutive series of ninety shoulders in ninety patients with full-thickness supraspinatus tears at an average of 10 months (range, 6-12) after operation. A single surgeon at a single hospital performed the repairs. Inclusion criteria were full-thickness supraspinatus tears less than 25 mm in their anterior to posterior dimension. Exclusion criteria were prior operations on the shoulder, partial thickness tears, subscapularis tears, infraspinatus tears, combined supraspinatus and infraspinatus repairs and irreparable supraspinatus tears. Forty-three shoulders were repaired with single-row technique and 47 shoulders with double-row suture bridge technique. Postoperative rehabilitation was identical for both groups. Ultrasound criteria for healed repair included visualization of a tendon with normal thickness and length, and a negative compression test.

RESULTS: Eighty-three patients were available for ultrasound examination (40 single-row and 43 suture-bridge). Thirty of 40 patients (75%) with single-row repair demonstrated a healed rotator cuff repair compared to 40/43 (93%) patients with suture-bridge repair (P = .024).

CONCLUSION: Arthroscopic double-row suture bridge repair (transosseous equivalent) of an isolated supraspinatus rotator cuff tear resulted in a significantly higher tendon healing rate (as determined by ultrasound examination) when compared to arthroscopic single-row repair.

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