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Capsular Reconstruction and Tendon Transfers Have Comparable Patient-Reported Outcomes

In This Article

  • Researchers analyzed outcomes among patients who underwent treatment for massive rotator cuff tears
  • They compared two types of treatment: tendon transfers and superior capsular reconstruction
  • Patient-reported outcomes for all techniques were similar after two years of treatment

A clinical study comparing surgical methods for the treatment of massive rotator cuff tears found equivalency in patient-reported outcomes between two predominant treatment approaches: tendon transfers and superior capsular reconstruction.

Jon J.P. Warner, PhD, chief of the Shoulder Service at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues compared patient outcomes from both treatments in cases where massive rotators cuff tears were deemed irreparable prior to treatment.

The results of the study showed that there was no difference in the process of recovery or the patient-reported outcomes after a two-year minimum follow-up between tendon transfer and superior capsular reconstruction. Techniques for tendon transfers in the study included both latissimus dorsi transfers and lower trapezius transfers.

In an interview with Orthopedics Today, Dr. Warner noted that the patient groups in the study were somewhat unequal, with more surgeons preferring superior capsular reconstructions.

Dr. Warner also said that the success of either treatment may depend on the patient. His opinion, which does not draw directly from the clinical results, is that tendon transfers are better for patients who lack external rotation strength before treatment, whereas superior capsular reconstruction is a better treatment for patients with irreparable tears who still have some external rotation strength.

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