Ten-Year Multicenter Clinical and MRI Evaluation of Isolated Supraspinatus Repairs

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Abstract

Background:

Early repair of isolated supraspinatus tears could prevent further deterioration of the rotator cuff; however, there is no consensus on the management of such tears because of a lack of long-term outcome studies. The purposes of this study were to report the 10-year outcomes of isolated supraspinatus repairs and to investigate the factors that favor healing and recovery.

Methods:

We retrieved the records of all 511 patients who, in 2003, underwent repair of full-thickness isolated supraspinatus tears, performed by 15 surgeons at 15 centers. In 2014, the patients were asked to return for evaluation at a minimum follow-up of 10 years. One hundred and eighty-eight patients could not be reached, and 35 were excluded because they had a reoperation (17 had a retear, 7 had conversion to an arthroplasty, and 11 had other causes). A total of 288 patients (50% were men) who had a mean age (and standard deviation) at index surgery of 56.5 ± 8.3 years (range, 32 to 77 years) were evaluated clinically, and 210 of them were also evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Results:

Thirty shoulders (10.4%) had complications, including stiffness (20 shoulders), infection (1 shoulder), and other complications (9 shoulders). The total Constant score improved from a mean of 51.8 ± 13.6 points (range, 19 to 87 points) preoperatively to 77.7 ± 12.1 points (range, 37 to 100 points) at 10 years. At the 10-year follow-up evaluation, the mean Subjective Shoulder Value (SSV) was 84.9 ± 14.8 (range, 20 to 100), and the mean Simple Shoulder Test (SST) was 10.1 ± 2.2 (range, 3 to 12). Of the 210 shoulders evaluated using MRI, the repair integrity was Sugaya type I in 26 shoulders (12%), type II in 85 (41%), type III in 59 (28%), type IV in 27 (13%), and type V in 13 (6%). The total Constant score at the final follow-up was significantly associated with tendon healing (p < 0.005) and was inversely associated with preoperative fatty infiltration (p < 0.001). Neither the surgical approach nor the preoperative retraction influenced the outcomes.

Conclusions:

Repairs of isolated supraspinatus tears maintained considerable improvement in clinical and radiographic outcomes at 10 years. Preoperative fatty infiltration and postoperative retear have a significantly detrimental effect on the long-term functional outcome of rotator cuff repair.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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