Biceps Rerouting for Semirigid Large-to-Massive Rotator Cuff Tears


      To compare clinical and radiographic results of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (ARCR) with biceps rerouting (BR) and those of conventional repair for semirigid, large-to-massive rotator cuff tear.


      We prospectively collected data of 111 patients who underwent either ARCR + BR (n = 59, group 1) or only ARCR (n = 52, group 2) for semirigid, large-to-massive rotator cuff tear between January 2016 and December 2018. We comparatively analyzed both groups with respect to preoperative factors including concomitant lesions of the long head of the biceps tendon (LHBT). Univariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify predictive variables for occurrence of retear after ARCR + BR.


      Mean age of groups 1 and 2 were 62.8 and 63.7 years, respectively (P = .484). Mean follow-up period in groups 1 and 2 were 15.1 and 25.1 months, respectively (P = .102). Mean range of motion and functional scores improved significantly (P < .05) and comparably (P > .05) in both groups. In total, 11 (18.6%) and 25 (48.1%) patients from groups 1 and 2, respectively, showed retear of the repaired rotator cuff at final follow-up (P < .01). Of 45 group 1 patients who showed less than 50% partial tearing of the LHBT preoperatively, 6 (13.3%) experienced retear. Comparatively, of 14 patients with partial tearing involving more than 50% of the LHBT, 5 (35.7%) suffered postoperative retear. If the patients had partial tear involving more than 50% of LHBT preoperatively, the odds ratio (OR) to have retear was 4.222 (P = .037). Wider (OR, 1.445, P = .047) and thinner (OR, 0.166, P = .019) LHBT were the prognostic factors to have retear. Three (5.1%) group 1 patients showed the Popeye deformity at final follow-up.


      ARCR + BR for semirigid, large-to-massive rotator cuff tears effectively improved clinical and structural outcomes as also shown in the conventional repairs. However, the retear rate was significantly lower in patients who underwent ARCR + BR than those treated conventionally. Partial tearing involving more than 50% of the LHBT and wide and/or thin tendon morphology were significant risk factors for postoperative occurrence of retear.

      Level of Evidence

      Level III, retrospective therapeutic comparative trial.
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