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Anterior Cable Reconstruction Using the Proximal Biceps Tendon for Large Rotator Cuff Defects Limits Superior Migration and Subacromial Contact Without Inhibiting Range of Motion: A Biomechanical Analysis

      Purpose

      To assess an anterior cable reconstruction (ACR) using autologous proximal biceps tendon for large to massive rotator cuff tears.

      Methods

      Nine cadaveric shoulders (mean age, 58 years) were tested with a custom testing system. Range of motion, superior translation of the humeral head, and subacromial contact pressure were measured at 0°, 30°, 60°, and 90° of external rotation (ER) with 0°, 20°, and 40° of glenohumeral abduction. Five conditions were tested: intact, stage II tear (supraspinatus), stage II tear + ACR, stage III tear (supraspinatus + anterior half of infraspinatus), and stage III tear + ACR. ACR involved a biceps tendon tenotomy at the transverse humeral ligament, preserving its labral attachment. ACR included nonpenetrating suture-loop fixation using 2 side-to-side sutures and an anchor at the articular margin to restore anatomy and secure the tendon along the anterior edge of the cuff defect. ACR was performed in 20° glenohumeral abduction and 60° ER.

      Results

      ACR for both stage II and stage III showed significantly higher total range of motion compared with intact at all angles (P ≤ .001). ACR significantly decreased superior translation for stage II tears at 0°, 30°, and 60° ER for both 0° and 20° abduction (P ≤ .01) and for stage III tears at 0° and 30° ER for both 0° and 20° abduction (P ≤ .004). ACR for stage III tear significantly reduced peak subacromial contact pressure at 30° and 60° ER with 0° and 40° abduction and at 30° ER with 20° abduction (P ≤ .041).

      Conclusions

      ACR using autologous biceps tendon biomechanically normalized superior migration and subacromial contact pressure, without limiting range of motion.

      Clinical Relevance

      ACR may improve rotator cuff tendon repair longevity by providing basic static ligamentous support to the dynamic tendon while helping to limit superior migration without restricting glenohumeral kinematics.
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