Comparison of Clinical and Radiological Results in the Arthroscopic Repair of Full-Thickness Rotator Cuff Tears With and Without the Anterior Attachment of the Rotator Cable

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Abstract

Background:

The anterior rotator cable is critical in force transmission of the rotator cuff. However, few clinical studies have examined the correlation between the integrity of the anterior supraspinatus tendon and surgical outcomes in patients with rotator cuff tears.

Purpose:

To compare the clinical and structural outcomes of the arthroscopic repair of full-thickness rotator cuff tears with and without anterior disruption of the supraspinatus tendon.

Study Design:

Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods:

One hundred eighty-one shoulders available for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at least 6 months after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, with a minimum 1-year follow-up, were enrolled. The anterior attachment of the rotator cable was disrupted in 113 shoulders (group A) and intact in 68 shoulders (group B). The mean age at the time of surgery in groups A and B was 59.6 and 59.2 years, respectively, and the mean follow-up period was 24.2 and 25.1 months, respectively.

Results:

There were statistically significant differences in the preoperative tear size and pattern and muscle fatty degeneration between the 2 groups (P = .004, P = .008, and P < .001, respectively). At final follow-up, the mean visual analog scale (VAS) for pain score during motion was 1.31 ± 0.98 and 1.24 ± 0.90 in groups A and B, respectively (P = .587). The mean Constant score was 77.5 ± 11.2 and 78.0 ± 11.9 points in groups A and B, respectively (P = .875). The mean University of California, Los Angeles score was 30.5 ± 4.1 and 31.0 ± 3.0 points in groups A and B, respectively (P = .652). In assessing the repair integrity on postoperative MRI, the retear rate was 23.9% and 14.7% in groups A and B, respectively (P = .029).

Conclusion:

Irrespective of involvement in the anterior attachment of the rotator cable, the mean 24-month follow-up demonstrated excellent pain relief and improvement in the ability to perform activities of daily living after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. However, tears with anterior disruption of the rotator cable showed a significantly larger and more complex tear pattern and more advanced fatty degeneration. Additionally, the retear rate was significantly higher in patients with a tear involving the anterior attachment of the rotator cable.

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