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Functional Outcome and Healing of Large and Massive Rotator Cuff Tears Repaired With a Load-Sharing Rip-Stop Construct

      Purpose

      To prospectively review functional outcomes and healing rates of large and massive rotator cuff tears repaired with a load-sharing rip-stop (LSRS) technique.

      Methods

      Twenty-one consecutive patients underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair with an LSRS construct between January and December 2014. Seventeen patients with a minimum of 2 years' follow-up were included. Four patients did not complete clinical evaluations and functional outcome scores at a minimum of 2 years' follow-up and were lost to follow-up. Ultrasound imaging was used to assess for rotator cuff healing at a minimum of 6 months postoperatively. Range of motion, strength, and functional outcome scores were evaluated at final follow-up.

      Results

      Mean active forward elevation improved from 109° preoperatively to 153° postoperatively, and mean supraspinatus strength improved by 1 strength grade, from 3.5 preoperatively to 4.4 postoperatively. When we compared preoperative and postoperative values, the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score improved from 40.8 to 89.5, the Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation score improved from 32.8 to 83.1, the Simple Shoulder Test score improved from 3.8 to 10.3, and the pain score on a visual analog scale decreased from 4.8 to 0.8 (P < .001). Of 17 patients, 13 (82%) were satisfied with their outcomes. Ultrasound evaluation 6 months after surgery showed complete healing in 53%, partial healing in 29%, and no healing in 18%.

      Conclusions

      The LSRS construct showed satisfactory functional outcomes with reasonable healing rates in an otherwise challenging subset of rotator cuff tears. This construct may be an alternative for tears not amenable to double-row repair.

      Level of Evidence

      Level IV, therapeutic case series.
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