Predictive Factors of Subtle Residual Shoulder Symptoms After Transtendinous Arthroscopic Cuff Repair: A Clinical Study

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Transtendinous repair is a well-known technique for the arthroscopic management of partial rotator cuff tear. However, there are not a lot of clinical follow-up studies in the literature reporting data on this approach, and, moreover, potential factors responsible to influence the outcomes have not been investigated.


To evaluate clinical outcomes after arthroscopic transtendinous repair and to identify predictive factors of residual shoulder symptoms.

Study Design:

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.


Fifty-four patients with a mean age of 56.7 ± 8.8 years (range, 31-71 years) who had undergone an arthroscopic transtendon repair for a painful articular-sided rotator cuff tear with a minimum of 2 years of follow-up were contacted. Clinical outcomes using a patient-based questionnaire, the Constant score, University of California at Los Angeles score, Simple Shoulder Test, and visual analog scale were evaluated. The influence of patient age, presence or absence of a trauma responsible for the cuff tear, presence of associated shoulder lesions, millimeters of exposed footprint, and millimeters of torn tendon retraction on the outcomes were assessed.


The mean cuff tear exposure footprint was 5.2 mm, and the mean retraction of the torn part of the tendon was 8 mm. Only one patient reported dissatisfaction with surgery because of persistence of pain during overhead activities. After arthroscopic repair, University of California at Los Angeles, Constant, and Simple Shoulder Test scores were significantly improved from 14.1, 45.3, and 9.8 to 32.9, 90.6, and 0.8, respectively (P < .001). Twenty-two patients (41%) reported occasional shoulder discomfort at the extremes of range of motion (particularly at extremes of abduction and internal rotation) occurring during some daily living and sports activities. The best multivariate model showed that residual shoulder discomfort is strongly linked with a partial thickness supraspinatus tendon avulsion-type articular-sided rotator cuff lesion consisting of a large tendon retraction and/or a relatively small exposure footprint area in an older patient in the absence of a specific trauma (P < .001).


Arthroscopic transtendon partial articular supraspinatus tendon avulsion-type rotator cuff repair was a reliable procedure that resulted in a good outcome in terms of pain relief and shoulder scores in 98% of the 54 patients. Better results could be expected in patients with less tendon retraction, a larger footprint exposure, of younger age, and with a clinical history of trauma.

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