Rotator cuff tears are frequently associated with pathologies of the long head of the biceps tendon (LHBT). Tenotomy and tenodesis of the LHBT are commonly used to manage disorders of the LHBT.
We present an arthroscopic soft tissue LHBT tenodesis associated with a Roman Bridge (double pulley – suture bridges) repair
Two medial row 5.5-mm Bio-Corkscrew suture anchors (Arthrex, Naples, FL), double-loaded with No. 2 FiberWire sutures (Arthrex, Naples, FL), are placed in the medial aspect of the footprint. A shuttle is passed through an anterior point of the rotator cuff and through the LHBT by means of a Penetrator or a BirdBeak suture passer (Arthrex, Naples, FL). A tenotomy of the LHBT is performed. All the sutures from the anteromedial anchor are passed through a single anterior point in the rotator cuff using a shuttle technique. All the sutures from the posteromedial anchor are passed through a single posterior point in the rotator cuff. The sutures in the medial row are tied using the double pulley technique. A suture limb is retrieved from each of the medial anchors and manually tied as a six-throw surgeon's knot over a metal rod. The two free suture limbs are pulled to transport the knot over the top of the tendon bridge. The two free suture limbs are then used to produce suture bridges over the tendon, using a Pushlock (Arthrex, Naples, FL), placed 1 cm distal to the lateral edge of the footprint. The same double pulley – suture bridges technique is repeated for the other two suture limbs from the two medial anchors.
This technique allows to perform a double pulley – suture bridges repair for a rotator cuff tear, associated with a soft tissue tenodesis for the management of LHBT pathology. The tenodesis of the LHBT is performed just with the passage of a shuttle inside the LHBT, after passing it through the anterior portion of the rotator cuff, with successive detachment of the LHBT from the glenoid. It is a technically easy procedure which can be performed relatively quickly, and does not require additional fixation.
With advances in arthroscopic surgery, many techniques have been developed to increase the tendon-bone contact area, reconstituting a more anatomic configuration of the rotator cuff footprint and providing a better environment for tendon healing.
We present an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair technique which uses suture bridges to optimize rotator cuff tendon-footprint contact area and mean pressure.
Two medial row 5.5-mm Bio-Corkscrew suture anchors (Arthrex, Naples, FL), which are double-loaded with No. 2 FiberWire sutures (Arthrex, Naples, FL), are placed in the medial aspect of the footprint. Two suture limbs from a single suture are both passed through a single point in the rotator cuff. This is performed for both anchors. The medial row sutures are tied using the double pulley technique. A suture limb is retrieved from each of the medial anchors through the lateral portal, and manually tied as a six-throw surgeon's knot over a metal rod. The two free suture limbs are pulled to transport the knot over the top of the tendon bridge. Then the two free suture limbs that were used to pull the knot down are tied. The end of the sutures are cut. The same double pulley technique is repeated for the other two suture limbs from the two medial anchors, but the two free suture limbs are used to produce suture bridges over the tendon, by means of a Pushlock (Arthrex, Naples, FL), placed 1 cm distal to the lateral edge of the footprint.
This technique maximizes the advantages of two techniques. On the one hand, the double pulley technique provides an extremely secure fixation in the medial aspect of the footprint. On the other hand, the suture bridges allow to improve pressurized contact area and mean footprint pressure. In this way, the bony footprint in not compromised by the distal-lateral fixation, and it is thus possible to share the load between fixation points. This maximizes the strength of the repair and provides a barrier preventing penetration of synovial fluid into the healing area of tendon and bone.
Arthroscopic transtendinous techniques for the arthroscopic repair of partial-thickness, articular-surface rotator cuff tears offer the advantage of minimizing the disruption of the patient's remaining rotator cuff tendon fibers. In addition, double-row fixation of full-thickness rotator cuff tears has shown biomechanical advantages. We present a novel method combining these 2 techniques for transtendon, double-row, transosseous-equivalent arthroscopic repair of partial-thickness, articular-surface rotator cuff tears. Direct visualization of the reduction of the retracted articular tendon layer to its insertion on the greater tuberosity is the key to the procedure. Linking the medial-row anchors and using a double-row construct provide a stable repair that allows early shoulder motion to minimize the risk of postoperative stiffness.
This experimental study aimed to compare the load-to-failure rate and stiffness of single- versus double-row suture techniques for repairing rotator cuff lesions using two different suture materials. Additionally, the mode of failure of each repair was evaluated.
In 32 sheep shoulders, a standardized tear of the infraspinatus tendon was created. Then, n = 8 specimen were randomized to four repair methods: (1) Double-row Anchor Ethibond® coupled with polyester sutures, USP No. 2; (2) Double-Row Anchor HiFi® with polyblend polyethylene sutures, USP No. 2; (3) Single-Row Anchor Ethibond® coupled with braided polyester sutures, USP No. 2; and (4) Single-Row Anchor HiFi® with braided polyblend polyethylene sutures, USP No. 2. Arthroscopic Mason–Allen stitches were placed (single-row) and combined with medial horizontal mattress stitches (double-row). All specimens were loaded to failure at a constant displacement rate on a material testing machine.
Group 4 showed lowest load-to-failure result with 155.7 ± 31.1 N compared to group 1 (293.4 ± 16.1 N) and group 2 (397.7 ± 7.4 N) (P < 0.001). Stiffness was highest in group 2 (162 ± 7.3 N/mm) and lowest in group 4 (84.4 ± 19.9 mm) (P < 0.001). In group 4, the main cause of failure was due to the suture cutting through the tendon (n = 6), a failure case observed in only n = 1 specimen in group 2 (P < 0.001).
A double-row technique combined with arthroscopic Mason-Allen/horizontal mattress stitches provides high initial failure strength and may minimize the risk of the polyethylene sutures cutting through the tendon in rotator cuff repair when a single load force is used.
Rotator cuff; Single-row; Double-row; Load-to-failure; Sheep shoulder
The purpose of this study was to evaluate clinical and anatomic outcomes of patients following transtendon rotator-cuff repair of partial articular supraspinatus tendon avulsion (PASTA) lesions.
Patients and methods
Patients in the senior author’s practice who had isolated PASTA lesions treated by transtendon rotator-cuff repair were included (n=8) and retrospectively reviewed. All patients were evaluated preoperatively and at a mean of 21.2 months (±9.7 months) postoperatively using standardized clinical evaluation (physical exam, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, and Simple Shoulder Test). All patients underwent postoperative imaging with a magnetic resonance imaging arthrogram.
There was a significant improvement in American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (42.7±17.5 to 86.9±25.2) and Simple Shoulder Test (4.6±3.2 to 10.1±3.8) scores from pre- to postoperative, respectively. Postoperative imaging demonstrated full-thickness medial cuff tearing in seven patients, and one patient with a persistent partial articular surface defect.
Transtendon repair of PASTA lesions may lead to improvements in clinical outcome. However, postoperative imaging demonstrated a high incidence of full-thickness rotator-cuff defects following repair.
rotator cuff; PASTA lesion; transtendon repair
Partial thickness rotator cuff tears occupy an important position in the spectrum of rotator cuff disease. The development of a more comprehensive classification has been sought to address both the tear location and extent, which may influence clinical results. The purpose of this study is to classify partial thickness rotator cuff tears according to the arthroscopic findings and to evaluate the clinical outcomes after arthroscopic repair of partial thickness tears.
Materials and Methods:
One hundred and two patients had arthroscopic treatment of partial thickness rotator cuff tears. The inclusion criterion for the study was a partially torn supraspinatus tendon involving articular or bursal side, verified by direct arthroscopic visualization. Outcome analysis was exclusively applied to patients who underwent transtendon repair, using the shoulder index of American Shoulder and Elbow Society and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) rating system.
Partial thickness rotator cuff tears were divided into five groups according to arthroscopic findings. There was significant improvement after surgery in all parameters of clinical evaluation in the tears that warranted repair. Arthroscopic repair in situ (transtendon technique) may be the preferred option in unstable partial thickness tear.
The proposed classification system may assist decision making in the treatment of partial thickness rotator cuff tears.
Arthroscopic repair; partial thickness tears; rotator cuff; shoulder joint; Arthroscopy; rotator cuff; shoulder; tears
Surgical repair of massive rotator cuff tears is associated with less favorable clinical results and a higher retear rate than repair of smaller tears, which is attributed to irreversible degenerative changes of the musculotendinous unit.
Materials and Methods:
During the study period, 25 consecutive patients with a massive rotator cuff tear were enrolled in the study and the tears were repaired with an open suture anchor repair technique. Preoperative and postoperative clinical assessments were performed with the Constant score, the simple shoulder test (SST) and a pain visual analog scale (VAS). At the final follow-up, rotator cuff strength measurement was evaluated and assessment of tendon integrity, fatty degeneration and muscle atrophy was done using a standardized magnetic resonance imaging protocol.
The mean follow-up period was 70 months. The mean constant score improved significantly from 42.3 to 73.1 points at the final follow-up. Both the SST and the pain VAS improved significantly from 5.3 to 10.2 points and from 6.3 to 2.1, respectively. The overall retear rate was 44% after 6 years. Patients with an intact repair had better shoulder scores and rotator cuff strength than those with a failed repair, and also the retear group showed a significant clinical improvement (each P<0.05). Rotator cuff strength in all testing positions was significantly reduced for the operated compared to the contralateral shoulder. Muscle atrophy and fatty infiltration of the rotator cuff muscles did not recover in intact repairs, whereas both parameters progressed in retorn cuffs.
Open repair of massive rotator tears achieved high patient satisfaction and a good clinical outcome at the long-term follow-up despite a high retear rate. Also, shoulders with retorn cuffs were significantly improved by the procedure. Muscle atrophy and fatty muscle degeneration could not be reversed after repair and rotator cuff strength still did not equal that of the contralateral shoulder after 6 years.
Level of evidence:
Magnetic resonance imaging; massive rotator cuff tear; open rotator cuff repair; rotator cuff strength; subscapularis function
OBJECTIVES--To analyse the glycosaminoglycans of the adult human rotator cuff tendon matrix, to characterise changes in the glycosaminoglycan composition with age and in chronic rotator cuff tendinitis. METHODS--Rotator cuff (supraspinatus) tendons (n = 84) and common biceps tendons (n = 26) were obtained from cadavers with no history of tendon pathology (age range 11-95 years). Biopsies of rotator cuff tendons (supraspinatus and subscapularis tendons, n = 53) were obtained during open shoulder surgery to repair shoulder lesions (age range 38-80 years). Glycosaminoglycans were extracted by papain digestion and analysed by cellulose acetate electrophoresis, the carbazole assay for uronic acid and the dimethylmethylene blue dye-binding assay for sulphated glycosaminoglycans. Some digests were analysed for keratan sulphate by 5D4 monoclonal antibody ELISA. Soluble proteoglycans were extracted in 4M guanidine hydrochloride and analysed by 4-15% SDS PAGE. RESULTS--The mean (SD) sulphated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content of the normal cadaver supraspinatus tendon was 12.3 (4.3) micrograms/mg dry weight, between three and ten times greater than in the common biceps tendon [1.2 (0.6) micrograms/mg dry weight]. The major GAG was chondroitin sulphate [6.9 (2.6) micrograms/mg dry weight], with a smaller proportion of dermatan sulphate [2.5 (1.2) micrograms/mg dry weight]. In contrast, the common biceps tendon contained predominantly dermatan sulphate [0.8 (0.2) microgram/mg dry weight] with less chondroitin sulphate [0.2 (0.2) microgram/mg dry weight]. There was no difference in the concentration of hyaluronan in these tendons [9.3 (2.8) micrograms/mg dry weight and 10.8 (4.3) micrograms/mg dry weight respectively] and there was no significant change of hyaluronan with age. Keratan sulphate was a small but significant component of the supraspinatus tendon [0.43 (0.33) microgram/mg dry weight, n = 25], whereas there was little or none in the common biceps tendon [0.04 (0.05) microgram/mg dry weight, n = 8] and there was no significant change across the age range. In the supraspinatus tendon, there was a significant decrease in total glycosaminoglycan, chondroitin sulphate and dermatan sulphate with age (p < 0.001), whether expressed relative to the tendon dry weight or total collagen content, and no change in the relative proportion of the different GAG types. There was, however, a large degree of variation within the samples. Supraspinatus tendons from patients with chronic tendinitis had a significantly increased concentration of hyaluronan [30.4 (10.1) micrograms/mg dry weight, p < 0.001], chondroitin sulphate [8.4 (1.8) micrograms/mg dry weight, p < 0.05] and dermatan sulphate [3.8 (1.1) micrograms/mg dry weight, p < 0.001] compared with normal cadaver supraspinatus tendons, although the keratan sulphate content was not significantly different [0.18 (0.05) microgram/mg dry weight]. CONCLUSIONS--The normal supraspinatus tendon has the proteoglycan/glycosaminoglycan of tendon fibrocartilage, which it is suggested is an adaptation to mechanical forces (tension, compression and shear) which act on the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder, although other factors such as reduced vascularity, low oxygen tension and the influence of local growth factors may also be important. This functional adaptation may have important consequences for the structural strength of the supraspinatus tendon and to influence the ability of the tendon to repair after injury. The glycosaminoglycan composition of tendon specimens from patients with chronic tendinitis is consistent with acute inflammation and new matrix proteoglycan synthesis, even in relatively old tendon specimens and after at least one injection of corticosteroid.
There is no consensus in the literature regarding the optimal surgical treatment of symptomatic partial rotator cuff tears. We attempted to determine the optimal surgical treatment for partial articular-sided rotator cuff tears through a systematic review of appropriate studies.
Medline®, PubMed, Ovid, and the cochrane register of controlled trials were searched for all studies published between January 1991 to March 2010 that used the key words “shoulder”, “partial rotator cuff tear”, “PASTA”, “articularsided rotator cuff tear”, “incomplete rotator cuff tear”, “arthroscopic” and “repair”. Inclusion criteria were studies (Level I to IV) that reported clinical outcomes in patients who had arthroscopic evaluation and arthroscopic or mini-open treatment of a symptomatic partial articular-sided rotator cuff tear. One of three surgical treatments was used: debridement with or without acromioplasty; transtendon arthroscopic repair; or tear completion with repair. Exclusion criteria included studies with over 50% overhead throwers or athletes, studies that involved an open approach to the rotator cuff without arthroscopy, and data presented in technical notes or review papers. Data abstracted from the studies included patient demographics, tear characteristics, surgical procedure(s), and clinical outcomes.
Of 588 studies involving partial rotator cuff tears, 14 studies were identified which met our inclusion and exclusion criteria. All studies were Level IV retrospective case-series studies. Seven studies reported outcomes after rotator cuff debridement. Tear completion and repair was performed in three studies. Transtendon repair of a partial articular-sided rotator cuff tear was performed in three studies. Although different outcome measures were used, each study reported subjective and objective improvement postoperatively. One study compared outcomes in patients who underwent arthroscopic debridement versus another group where patients had tear completion and mini-open repair. Improved long-term results and decreased reoperation rates were reported in the tear completion and repair group.
On the basis of the available evidence, no single technique provides superior clinical outcomes. Level I and II comparison studies are needed to determine the optimal treatment of partial articular-sided rotator cuff tears.
A common distal radio-ulnar joint (DRUJ) stabilisation procedure uses a tendon graft running from the lip of the radial sigmoid notch to the ulnar fovea and through a bony tunnel to the ulnar shaft, before being wrapped round the distal ulna and sutured to itself. Such graft fixation can be challenging and requires a considerable tendon length. The graft length could be reduced by fixing the graft to the ulna using a bone anchor or interference screw. The aim of this study was to compare the strength of three distal ulna graft fixation methods (tendon wrapping and suturing, bone anchor and interference screw). Four human cadaveric ulnae were used. A tendon strip was run through a tunnel in the distal ulna and secured by: (1) wrapping round the shaft and suturing it to itself, (2) a bone anchor and (3) an interference screw in the bone tunnel. Load to failure was determined using a custom-made apparatus and an Instron machine. Maximum failure load was highest for the bone anchor fixation (99.3 ± 23.7 N) followed by the suturing (96.2 ± 12.1 N), and the interference screw fixation (46.9 ± 5.6 N). There was no significant difference between the tendon suturing and bone anchor methods, but the tendon suturing was statistically significantly higher compared to the interference screw (P = 0.028). In performing anatomical stabilisation of the DRUJ fixation of the tendon graft to the distal ulna with a bone anchor provides the most secure fixation. This may make the stabilisation technique less demanding and require a smaller tendon graft.
DRUJ; Wrist instability; Tenodesis; Interference screw
A rotator cuff tear causes morphologic changes in rotator cuff muscles and tendons and reduced shoulder strength. The mechanisms by which these changes affect joint strength are not understood. This study’s purpose was to empirically determine rotation moment arms for subregions of supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and for teres minor, and to test the hypothesis that subregions of the cuff tendons increase their effective moment arms through connections to other subregions. Tendon excursions were measured for full ranges of rotation on 10 independent glenohumeral specimens with the humerus abducted in the scapular plane at 10 and 60°. Supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendons were divided into equal width subregions. Two conditions were tested: tendon divided to the musculotendinous junction, and tendon divided to the insertion on the humerus. Moment arms were determined from tendon excursion via the principle of virtual work. Moment arms for the infraspinatus (p < 0.001) and supraspinatus (p < 0.001) were significantly greater when the tendon was only divided to the musculotendinous junction versus division to the humeral head. Moment arms across subregions of infraspinatus (p < 0.001) and supraspinatus (p < 0.001) were significantly different. A difference in teres minor moment arm was not found for the two cuff tendon conditions. Moment arm differences between muscle subregions and for tendon division conditions have clinical implications. Interaction between cuff regions could explain why some subjects retain strength after a small cuff tear. This finding helps explain why a partial cuff repair may be beneficial when a complete repair is not possible. Data presented here can help differentiate between cuff tear cases that would benefit from cuff repair and cases for which cuff repair might not be as favorable.
shoulder; external rotation; moment arm; infraspinatus; teres minor; supraspinatus
OBJECTIVES--To analyse the collagen composition of normal adult human supraspinatus tendon and to compare with: (1) a flexor tendon (the common biceps tendon) which is rarely involved in any degenerative pathology; (2) degenerate tendons from patients with chronic rotator cuff tendinitis. METHODS--Total collagen content, collagen solubility and collagen type were investigated by hydroxyproline analysis, acetic acid and pepsin digestion, cyanogen bromide peptide analysis, SDS-PAGE and Western blotting. RESULTS--The collagen content of the normal cadaver supraspinatus tendons (n = 60) was 96.3 micrograms HYPRO/mg dry weight (range 79.3-113.3) and there was no significant change across the age range 11 to 95 years. There was no significant difference from the common biceps tendon [93.3 (13.5) micrograms HYPRO/mg dry weight, n = 24]. Although extremely insoluble in both acetic acid and pepsin, much of the collagen was soluble after cyanogen bromide digestion [mean 47.9% (29.8)]. Seventeen per cent (10/60) of the 'normal' cadaver supraspinatus tendon sample contained more than 5% type III collagen, although none of the common biceps tendons had significant amounts. Degenerate supraspinatus and subscapularis tendons had a reduced collagen content [83.8 (13.9) micrograms/mg dry weight and 76.9 (16.8) micrograms/mg dry wt respectively) and were more soluble in acetic acid, pepsin and cyanogen bromide (p < 0.001). Eighty two per cent (14/17) of supraspinatus tendons and 100% (8/8) of subscapularis tendons from patients with tendinitis contained more than 5% type III collagen. CONCLUSIONS--The changes in collagen composition in rotator cuff tendinitis are consistent with new matrix synthesis, tissue remodelling and wound healing, in an attempt to repair the tendon defect, even in old and degenerate tendons. An increase in type III collagen in some 'normal' cadaver supraspinatus tendons is evidence that changes in collagen synthesis and turnover may precede tendon rupture. These changes may be the result of repeated minor injury and microscopic fibre damage or a consequence of local factors such as reduced vascular perfusion, tissue hypoxia, altered mechanical forces and the influence of cytokines. These collagenous changes may accumulate with age and substantially weaken the tendon structure, predisposing the tendon to rotator cuff tendinitis and eventual tendon rupture.
Few case reports have described the surgical treatment of calcifying tendonitis of the subscapularis tendon. We present a case of symptomatic diffuse calcifying tendonitis involving the subscapularis and infraspinatus insertions that was difficult to detect arthroscopically. The patient was treated with arthroscopic incision of the tendinous insertions thorough removal of the calcific deposits and subsequent repair using a suture-anchor technique. Two years after the surgical procedure, the patient was completely pain-free and attained full range of motion. Radiographic evaluation performed 2 years after the procedure revealed no calcific deposits. We conclude that the combination of incision of the subscapularis and infraspinatus insertions, complete removal of the calcific deposits, and subsequent suture-anchor repair in an all-arthroscopic manner can lead to an excellent clinical outcome without compromising the functional integrity of the rotator cuff tendons.
To compare two groups of patients who underwent two different arthroscopic procedures for repair of articular-sided partial-thickness rotator cuff tears (PTRCTs).
Materials this is a comparative prospective study of two methods for repair of partial cuff tears
Thirty-two patients underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair with a transtendon technique (group 1); 28 underwent arthroscopic full-thickness conversion and repair of the lesion (group 2). ROM measures, clinical findings, MRI features (tendon healing and re-tear), Constant–Murley and ASES scores were assessed pre- and postoperatively and compared. Patients were also asked about return to sport and level of activity.
At the last appointment, patients of both the groups were significantly improved for clinical findings, ROM measures, imaging features, Constant–Murley and ASES scores than at baseline, without any significant inter-group difference. In group 1, 15 of 20 patients (75 %) who practiced recreational sport activities had returned to sport at the same level as before the onset of symptoms, without any discomfort. In group 2, 12 of 18 patients (67 %) had returned to the same level of sport activity they practiced before symptoms. At the last follow up, MRI showed rotator cuff healing in 31 patients of Group 1 and 27 patients of Group 2 (p = 0.83).
The two procedures are safe, effective, and comparable.
Despite advancements in arthroscopic rotator cuff repair techniques, achieving tendon-to-bone healing can be difficult in the setting of poor-quality tendon. Moreover, medial tendon tears or tears with lateral tendon loss may preclude standard techniques. Rip-stop suture configurations have been shown to improve load to failure compared with simple or mattress stitch patterns and may be particularly valuable in these settings. The purpose of this report is to describe a technical modification of a rip-stop rotator cuff repair that combines the advantages of a rip-stop suture (by providing resistance to tissue cutout) and a double row of load-sharing suture anchors (minimizing the load per anchor and therefore the load per suture within each anchor).
Double-row suture anchor fixation of the rotator cuff was developed to reduce repair failure rates. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of simulated rotator cuff tears and subsequent repairs using single- and double-row suture anchor fixation on three-dimensional shoulder kinematics. It was hypothesized that both single- and double-row repairs would be effective in restoring active intact kinematics of the shoulder.
Materials and Methods:
Sixteen fresh-frozen cadaveric shoulder specimens (eight matched pairs) were tested using a custom loading apparatus designed to simulate unconstrained motion of the shoulder. In each specimen, the rotator cuff was sectioned to create a medium-sized (2 cm) tear. Within each pair, one specimen was randomized to a single-row suture anchor repair, while the contralateral side underwent a double-row suture anchor repair. Joint kinematics were recorded for intact, torn, and repaired scenarios using an electromagnetic tracking device.
Active kinematics confirmed that a medium-sized rotator cuff tear affected glenohumeral kinematics when compared to the intact state. Single- and double-row suture anchor repairs restored the kinematics of the intact specimen.
This study illustrates the effects of medium-sized rotator cuff tears and their repairs on active glenohumeral kinematics. No significant difference (P ≥ 0.10) was found between the kinematics of single- and double-row techniques in medium-sized rotator cuff repairs.
Determining the relative effects of single- and double-row suture anchor repairs of the rotator cuff will allow physicians to be better equipped to treat patients with rotator cuff disease.
Double-row; glenohumeral joint; rotator cuff; single-row; suture anchor repair
Although arthroscopic anchor suturing is commonly used for rotator cuff repair and achieves good results, certain shortcomings remain, including difficulty with reoperation in cases of retear, anchor dislodgement, knot impingement, and financial cost. In 2005, we developed an anchorless technique for arthroscopic transosseous suture rotator cuff repair.
Description of Technique
After acromioplasty and adequate footprint decortication, three K-wires with perforated tips are inserted through the inferior margin of the greater tuberosity into the medial edge of the footprint using a customized aiming guide. After pulling the rotator cuff stump laterally with a grasper, three K-wires are threaded through the rotator cuff and skin. Thereafter, five Number 2 polyester sutures are passed through three bone tunnels using the perforated tips of the K-wires. The surgery is completed by inserting two pairs of mattress sutures and three bridging sutures.
We investigated the retear rate (based on MR images at least 1 year after the procedure), total score on the UCLA Shoulder Rating Scale, axillary nerve preservation, and issues concerning bone tunnels with this technique in 384 shoulders in 380 patients (174 women [175 shoulders] and 206 men [209 shoulders]). Minimum followup was 2 years (mean, 3.3 years; range, 2–7 years). Complete followup was achieved by 380 patients (384 of 475 [81%] of the procedures performed during the period in question). The remaining 91 patients (91 shoulders) do not have 1-year postsurgical MR images, 2-year UCLA evaluation or intraoperative tear measurement, or they have previous fracture, retear of the rotator cuff, preoperative cervical radiculopathy or axillary nerve palsy, or were lost to followup.
Retears occurred in 24 patients (24 shoulders) (6%). The mean overall UCLA score improved from a preoperative mean of 19.1 to a score of 32.7 at last followup (maximum possible score 35, higher scores being better). Postoperative EMG and clinical examination showed no axillary nerve palsies. Bone tunnel-related issues were encountered in only one shoulder.
Our technique has the following advantages: (1) reoperation is easy in patients with retears; (2) surgical materials used are inexpensive polyester sutures; and (3) no knots are tied onto the rotator cuff. This low-cost method achieves a low retear rate and few bone tunnel problems, the mean postoperative UCLA score being comparable to that obtained by using an arthroscopic anchor suture technique.
Level of Evidence
Level IV, therapeutic study. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11999-013-3148-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Surgical repair of symptomatic, retracted rotator cuff tears unresponsive to non-operative treatments requires closure of the tear without undue tension and reattaching the torn tendon to its former insertion site. In this study, the length of the torn tendon edge was hypothesized to be longer than the length of the humeral insertion site. The objective of this study was to quantify the discrepancy in length of the torn tendon edge and the length of the avulsed humeral insertion site.
Materials and methods
Full thickness, rotator cuff tears that were found in twelve fresh frozen cadaver shoulders was studied. The length of the torn tendon edge, the length of the avulsed humeral insertion site and the retraction were measured using digital calipers.
Each tear involved the supraspinatus and the infraspinatus was additionally torn in six. The size of the tear was medium in eight and large in four. The length of the torn tendon edge was always longer than the length of the avulsed humeral insertion site. Retraction was 29.9 ± 9.3 mm (range 21–48 mm). The repair ratio, defined as the ratio of length of torn tendon edge to the length of avulsed humeral insertion site, was 2.6 ± 0.4 (range 2.1–3.5).
As only the length of the torn tendon edge equal to the length of the avulsed humeral insertion site can be repaired to bone, a repair ratio more than one precludes a simple repair and an additional repair technique such as margin convergence would be necessary for the remaining unapproximated torn tendon edge in rotator cuff tears. Repair ratio may aid in selection of the surgical repair technique of these rotator cuff tears.
Rotator cuff tear; Repair; Retraction; Insertion
Massive rotator cuff tears defying primary repair have been treated with debridement, arthroscopic subacromial decompression, partial repair, muscle-tendon transfer, and joint prosthesis, among other techniques. However, the treatment results have not been satisfactory compared with those of small- to medium-sized rotator cuff tears; each procedure has its merits and demerits, and currently, there is no single established method. For massive rotator cuff tears defying primary repair, the arthroscopic patch graft procedure has been reported as an effective surgical procedure, and this procedure is chosen as the first-line treatment in our department. In this procedure, suture anchors are generally used to fix the patch graft to the footprint on the side of the greater tuberosity. However, tendon-to-bone healing is frequently difficult to achieve, and bone-to-bone healing seems more advantageous for the repair of the rotator cuff attachment site. To improve the results of treatment, a new patch graft procedure was developed, in which the iliotibial ligament with bone was collected at Gerdy's tubercle and the bone was anchored to the footprint on the side of the greater tuberosity. With this procedure, excellent results were obtained, although only short-term results are available at present. The technique and its results so far are reported.
The goal of this study was to compare the cheese-wiring effects of three sutures with different coefficients of friction.
Materials and Methods:
Sixteen human cadaveric shoulders were dissected to expose the distal supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscle tendons. Three sutures were stitched through the tendons: #2 Orthocord™ suture (reference #223114, DePuy Mitek, Inc., Raynham, MA), #2 ETHIBOND* EXCEL Suture, and #2 FiberWire® suture (FiberWire®, Arthrex, Naples, FL). The sutures were pulled by cyclic axial forces from 10 to 70 N at 1 Hz for 1000 cycles through a MTS machine. The cut-through distance on the tendon was measured with a digital caliper.
The cut-through distance in the supraspinatus tendons (mean ± standard deviation, n = 12) were 2.9 ± 0.6 mm for #2 Orthocord™ suture, 3.2 ± 1.2 mm for #2 ETHIBOND* suture, and 4.2 ± 1.7 mm for #2 FiberWire® suture. The differences were statistically significant analyzing with analysis of variance (P = 0.047) and two-tailed Student's t-test, which showed significance between Orthocord™ and FiberWire® sutures (P = 0.026), but not significant between Orthocord™ and ETHIBOND* sutures (P = 0.607) or between ETHIBOND* and FiberWire® sutures (P = 0.103).
The cheese-wiring effect is less in the Orthocord™ suture than in the FiberWire® suture in human cadaveric supraspinatus tendons.
Identification of sutures that cause high levels of tendon cheese-wiring after rotator cuff repair can lead to better suture selection.
Biomechanics; cadaver study; cheese-wiring; supraspinatus tendon; suture
The rotator cuff musculature imparts dynamic stability to the glenohumeral joint. In particular, the balance between the subscapularis anteriorly and the infraspinatus posteriorly, often referred to as the rotator cuff “force couple,” is critical for concavity compression and concentric rotation of the humeral head. Restoration of this anterior-posterior force balance after chronic, massive rotator cuff tears may allow for deltoid compensation, but no in vivo studies have quantitatively demonstrated an improvement in shoulder function. Our goal was to determine if restoring this balance of forces improves shoulder function after two-tendon rotator cuff tears in a rat model. Forty-eight rats underwent detachment of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus. After four weeks, rats were randomly assigned to three groups: no repair, infraspinatus repair, and two-tendon repair. Quantitative ambulatory measures including medial/lateral forces, braking, propulsion, and step width were significantly different between the infraspinatus and no repair group and similar between the infraspinatus and two-tendon repair groups at almost all time points. These results suggest that repairing the infraspinatus back to its insertion site without repair of the supraspinatus can improve shoulder function to a level similar to repairing both the infraspinatus and supraspinatus tendons. Clinically, a partial repair of the posterior cuff after a two tendon tear may be sufficient to restore adequate function. An in vivo model system for two-tendon repair of massive rotator cuff tears is presented.
The double-row suture technique and the suture-bridge technique have been used for rotator cuff repair to decrease the occurrence of retears. However, when only the degenerated tendon end is sutured, the risk of retear remains. The augmentation suture technique is a new procedure that connects the intact medial tendon to the lateral greater tuberosity, and this approach may protect the initial repair site. The procedures for this technique are as follows: 2 sutures are placed through the medial intact tendon, the cuff tear is repaired by the single-row technique, 2 sutures are pulled laterally over the single-row repair site, and 2 sutures are fixed at the lateral greater tuberosity with a push-in–type anchor. This technique is simple and easy and does not require special equipment. Moreover, this approach can augment the single-row repair technique without creating high tension at the cuff end.
For the past few decades, the repair of rotator cuff tears has evolved significantly with advances in arthroscopy techniques, suture anchors and instrumentation. From the biomechanical perspective, the focus in arthroscopic repair has been on increasing fixation strength and restoration of the footprint contact characteristics to provide early rehabilitation and improve healing. To accomplish these objectives, various repair strategies and construct configurations have been developed for rotator cuff repair with the understanding that many factors contribute to the structural integrity of the repaired construct. These include repaired rotator cuff tendon-footprint motion, increased tendon-footprint contact area and pressure, and tissue quality of tendon and bone. In addition, the healing response may be compromised by intrinsic factors such as decreased vascularity, hypoxia, and fibrocartilaginous changes or aforementioned extrinsic compression factors. Furthermore, it is well documented that torn rotator cuff muscles have a tendency to atrophy and become subject to fatty infiltration which may affect the longevity of the repair. Despite all the aforementioned factors, initial fixation strength is an essential consideration in optimizing rotator cuff repair. Therefore, numerous biomechanical studies have focused on elucidating the strongest devices, knots, and repair configurations to improve contact characteristics for rotator cuff repair. In this review, the biomechanical concepts behind current rotator cuff repair techniques will be reviewed and discussed.
Rotator cuff repair; Load to failure; Biomechanics; Transosseous-equivalent
Subacromial corticosteroid injections are commonly used in the nonoperative management of rotator cuff disease. The effects of corticosteroid injection on injured rotator cuff tendons have not been studied. Our aims were to characterize the acute response of rotator cuff tendons to injury through the analysis of the type-III to type-I collagen expression ratio, a tendon injury marker, and to examine the effects of corticosteroid on this response.
Sixty Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to four groups: control, tendon injury, steroid treatment, and tendon injury and steroid treatment. Six rats served as sham controls. Unilateral tendon injuries were created with full-thickness defects across 50% of the total width of the infraspinatus tendon, 5 mm from its humeral insertion. Steroid treatment with a single dose of methylprednisolone (0.6 mg/kg), equivalent to that given to humans, was injected into the subacromial space under direct visualization. Steroid treatment followed the creation of an injury in the rats in the injury and steroid treatment group. At one, three, and five weeks after the injury, the total RNA isolated from tendons was quantified with real-time polymerase chain reaction with use of primers for type-I and type-III collagen and ribosomal 18s RNA.
The type-III to type-I collagen expression ratio remained at baseline at all time-points in the control and sham groups. At one week, the type-III to type-I collagen expression ratio increased more than fourfold above the control level in the tendon injury group (p = 0.017) and the tendon injury and steroid treatment group (p = 0.003). The ratio remained greater than twofold above the control at three weeks in both groups (p = 0.003 and p = 0.037) and returned to baseline at five weeks. Interestingly, the group that had steroid treatment only showed an increase of >4.5-fold (p = 0.001) in the type-III to type-I collagen expression ratio, without structural injury to the tendon. This ratio returned to baseline levels by three weeks.
A single dose of corticosteroid does not alter the acute phase response of an injured rotator cuff tendon in the rat. However, the same steroid dose in uninjured tendons initiates a short-term response equivalent to that of structural injury.
These findings suggest that while a single corticosteroid dose may have no long-term effects on tendon collagen gene expression, collagen composition may be acutely altered by the injection. Therapy and activity recommendations following subacromial corticosteroid exposure should be made with the awareness of possible compromised rotator cuff tendon properties.
There are a number of reasons for failed rotator cuff tear repair. In such cases the suture-tendon interface seems to be the most vulnerable area, especially when tendon degeneration is present. We describe a new technique, the arthroscopic double-locked suture, that increases the tendon fixation and has the added benefit of being placed parallel to the blood vessels, therefore avoiding damage to the tendon vascularization. The suture may be achieved by use of knots or knotless anchors and suture passers, without the need for any additional instrumentation. The new technique is especially helpful in cases in which the tendon is retracted and degeneration is present, impeding the use of the double-row technique or its transosseous equivalents.