Complications of arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs (SS-09)

      Arthroscopic techniques for treatment of shoulder problems especially rotator cuff tears has continued to gain popularity over the past ten years. Complications following shoulder arthroscopy have ranged from 5.3% to 9.5%, however, this number accounts for all types of shoulder arthroscopic surgeries. There has not been much written regarding the complications following arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs. Studies have demonstrated the results with arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs are comparable to results from open and mini-open repairs. Our study was designed to determine the complication rate of arthroscopic rotator repairs in a series of patients. Methods and Materials: All patients undergoing an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair by the 2 senior surgeons between 2/03 and 7/03 were identified. A total of 263 patients were identified. All charts were retrospectively reviewed looking for size of tear, number of anchors and/or tacks used and any complications following surgery. We divided the complications into major and minor complications. Major complications were defined as those events that required additional operation or re-operation, resulted in neurovascular injury, had technique or hardware failures and resulted in prolonged temporary or permanent disability. Minor complications were defined as those cases that did not require any further surgery buy may have required additional therapies or extended observation. Results: Of the 263 cases, a total of 12 complications were identified. The complication rate for this series of patients was 4.5%. There were 3 major complications and nine minor complications. Major complications included one deltoid detachment and one anchor pullout. Minor complications included 3 patients with adhesive capsulitis, 3 patients with synovitis due to bioabsorbable cuff tacks, and 3 infections that required oral antibiotics. Discussion: Complications following open and mini-open rotator cuff repairs are uncommon. Our study found a complication rate of 4.5% and the majority of the complications were minor. Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair continues to improve as techniques and hardware improves.