Instructional course 302| Volume 19, ISSUE 10, SUPPLEMENT 1, 189-199, December 2003

Arthroscopic management of partial, full-thickness, and complex rotator cuff tears: indications, techniques, and complications

      Arthroscopy has emerged as the gold standard for the evaluation of the rotator cuff, the subacromial space, and the glenohumeral joint itself. The past decade has seen advances in arthroscopic skills such that many shoulder surgeons repair all rotator cuff tears with arthroscopic techniques, and a growing number of orthopedic surgeons in general are treating simple rotator cuff tears with “minimally invasive” procedures. As we progress in both our learning and our teaching, the gold standard for the treatment of rotator cuff pathology will likely become arthroscopic repair. Early reports of all-arthroscopic repairs have been encouraging in demonstrating consistency in technique and excellent clinical outcomes. Thus, it is important to recognize the advantages of arthroscopic evaluation and repair of the rotator cuff, and also to be aware of the possible pitfalls and how they can be avoided with meticulous attention to technique. This instructional course reviews the many uses of the arthroscope in the diagnosis and classification of rotator cuff pathology, and discusses the surgical remedies for these problems that are afforded by the skillful use of arthroscopy in the shoulder.
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