Three-Dimensional Evaluation of Cyclic Displacement in Single-Row and Double-Row Rotator Cuff Reconstructions Under Static External Rotation

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The double-row suture bridge repair was recently introduced and has demonstrated superior biomechanical results and higher yield load compared with the traditional double-row technique. It therefore seemed reasonable to compare this second generation of double-row constructs to the modified single-row double mattress reconstruction.


The repair technique, initial tear size, and tendon subregion will have a significant effect on 3-dimensional (3D) cyclic displacement under additional static external rotation of a modified single-row compared with a double-row rotator cuff repair.

Study Design:

Controlled laboratory study.


Rotator cuff tears (small to medium: 25 mm; medium to large: 35 mm) were created in 24 human cadaveric shoulders. Rotator cuff repairs were performed as modified single-row or double-row repairs, and cyclic loading (10–60 N, 10–100 N) was applied under 20° of external rotation. Radiostereometric analysis was used to calculate cyclic displacement in the anteroposterior (x), craniocaudal (y), and mediolateral (z) planes with a focus on the repair constructs and the initial tear size. Moreover, differences in cyclic displacement of the anterior compared with the posterior tendon subregions were calculated.


Significantly lower cyclic displacement was seen in small to medium tears for the single-row compared with double-row repair at 60 and 100 N in the × plane (P = .001) and y plane (P = .001). The results were similar in medium to large tears at 100 N in the x plane (P = .004). Comparison of 25-mm versus 35-mm tears did not show any statistically significant differences for the single-row repairs. In the double-row repairs, lower gap formation was found for the 35-mm tears (P ≤ .05). Comparison of the anterior versus posterior tendon subregions revealed a trend toward higher anterior gap formation, although this was statistically not significant.


The tested single-row reconstruction achieved superior results in 3D cyclic displacement to the tested double-row repair. Extension of the initial rupture size did not have a negative effect on the biomechanical results of the tested constructs.

Clinical Relevance:

Single-row repairs with modified suture configurations provide comparable biomechanical strength to doublerow repairs. Furthermore, as increased gap formation in the early postoperative period might lead to failure of the construct, a strong anterior fixation and restricted external rotation protocol might be considered in rotator cuff repairs to avoid this problem.

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