Patients with Irreparable Rotator Cuff Tears May Have Another Surgical Option

The arthroscopic superior capsule reconstruction (SCR) surgical technique offers patients with irreparable rotator cuff tears restored shoulder function and the opportunity to return to sports and physically-demanding work, according to research presented today at the AOSSM/AANA Specialty Day in Las Vegas, Nevada. The study, which examined patient outcomes up to five years after surgery, built upon earlier research which examined short-term patient results.

“We studied 30 patients who were treated with arthroscopic SCR, and consistently saw improvements in outcomes related to shoulder function and the daily lives of those treated,” noted lead researcher Teruhisa Mihata, MD, PhD, from Osaka Medical College in Osaka, Japan. “The technique allowed 11 of 12 patients who had previously worked to return full-time at five-year follow-up, and all eight who had participated in sports to return to play.”

The study measured both American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) and Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores in patients, which improved significantly at both one and five years after surgery. The average ASES scores rose from 29.0 before surgery to 83.0 at one year and 92.3 at five years after surgery, with JOA scores rising from 51.5 before surgery to 85.9 and 91.4, respectively. Active elevation increased from 85 degrees prior to surgery to 151 degrees 5 years after the operation. Out of 30 patients followed for five years, only three (10%) experienced graft tears. Those who demonstrated graft healing also showed no sign of glenohumeral osteoarthritis during the five-year period.

“Our latest research shows continued promise for the arthroscopic SCR technique, particularly to restore a patient’s shoulder function and allow them to return to work or sports if they so choose,” said Mihata. “We plan to continue studying longer-term outcomes for patients, focusing on continued function and the appearance of osteoarthritis.”

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) is the premier global, sports medicine organization representing the interests of orthopaedic surgeons and other professionals who provide comprehensive health services for the care of athletes and active people of all ages and levels. We cultivate evidence-based knowledge, provide extensive educational programming, and promote emerging research that advances the science and practice of sports medicine. AOSSM is also a founding partner of the STOP Sports Injuries campaign to prevent overuse and traumatic injuries in kids.

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