Graft Healing Is More Important Than Graft Technique: Superior Capsular Reconstruction Versus Bridging Grafts—A Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial

Open AccessPublished:July 11, 2022DOI:


      To compare superior capsular reconstruction (SCR) versus bridging graft (BG) for massive irreparable rotator cuff tears (RCTs).


      A prospective double-blind randomized study was conducted to compare SCR versus BG for massive irreparable RCTs. Fifty patients (mean age: 60.2 ± 6.0 years) with chronic tears (mean duration of symptoms: 5 ± 5.2 years) were intraoperatively randomized following partial repair to SCR or BG using human dermal allograft. All patients underwent standardized rehabilitation and were followed at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months clinically and radiographically. Magnetic resonance imaging were obtained at 12 months to determine graft integrity.


      At 2 years, 46 patients were available for follow-up. Mean American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES), Western Ontario Rotator Cuff (WORC), and Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand scores were 74.8 ± 23.9, 66.0 ± 28.3, and 24.7 ± 26.1 for the SCR group, and 77.9 ± 19.9, 69.5 ± 24.5, and 25.0 ± 19.1 for the BG group, respectively, with no significant difference between groups. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated 18 of 24 (75%) in the SCR group and 14 of 22 (64%) in the BG group were intact at 12 months (P = .53). Patients with intact grafts compared with those with retorn grafts, whether SCR or BG, had greater ASES and WORC scores at 24 months (ASES 81.0 ± 18.7 vs 65.7 ± 24.4, P = .021 and WORC 72.3 ± 24.6 vs 53.7 ± 26.7, P = .04) and greater acromiohumeral intervals on radiographs at all follow-up time points.


      When performing arthroscopic reconstruction using human dermal allograft for an irreparable RCT, whether the proximal edge of the graft is attached on the glenoid bone or to the torn tendon does not significantly change short-term clinical and radiographic outcomes.

      Level of Evidence

      I, therapeutic.
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