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Primary Interposition Dermal Allograft Cuff Reconstruction Is Superior To Revision After Failed Cuff Repair: A Clinical and Radiographic Analysis

Primary Interposition Dermal Allograft Cuff Reconstruction Is Superior To Revision After Failed Cuff Repair: A Clinical and Radiographic Analysis

Ivan Wong, MD, FRCSC, MACM, Dip. Sports Med, CANADA Nedal Alkhatib, MD, CANADA Sara Sparavalo, B.Sc., M.A.Sc., CANADA Jie Ma, CANADA

Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA

2021 Congress   Abstract Presentation   4 minutes   Not yet rated


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Summary: The results of our study demonstrate that arthroscopic bridging reconstruction results in improved patient outcomes in both the primary and revision setting with low re-tear rates.


Large or massive rotator cuff tears make up between 10-40% of all rotator cuff tears, yet there is no agreement on the best treatment. Previous studies have shown that acellular human dermal allograft (AHDA) can be used for bridging reconstruction with positive patient outcomes. The use of this surgical technique has not been studied in the primary or revision surgical setting.


To compare the clinical and radiographic outcomes of patients who received primary or revision arthroscopic bridging reconstruction.


This study is a retrospective review of a sequential series of patients who underwent arthroscopic bridging reconstruction (ABR) using AHDA by the primary author (IW). A total of 130 patients underwent ABR between 2010 and 2018. The inclusion criteria were patients with completed Western Ontario Rotator Cuff (WORC) questionnaire, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) score, or both pre-operatively and at multiple post-operative timepoints. Patients with missing WORC scores were excluded from the study. Eighty-three patients were included following chart review. Patients with available post-operative MRIs were also used for radiological assessment by an independent MSK-trained radiologist. Post-operative MRIs were reviewed to assess for graft integrity and changes to rotator cuff muscle atrophy (using the Warner classification) and fatty degeneration (using the Goutallier classification).


There were 46 patients who received primary ABR and 37 who received revision ABR. Forty-eight patients had a post-operative MRI available for review (Primary: 25; Revision: 23). The demographics are summarized in Table 1. Both groups showed a significant improvement in WORC score post-operatively (p<0.001). Primary ABR resulted in higher post-operative WORC scores as compared to revision ABR (p=0.015; Figure 1). The incidence of complete re-tears in the primary group was 8% and 17.4% in the revision group. More than 35% of patients in the primary group showed improvement in fatty infiltration of the infraspinatus and supraspinatus muscles. There was a higher progression in muscle atrophy in the revision group as compared to the primary group (74% and 30%, respectively).


Arthroscopic primary arthroscopic bridging reconstruction for large/massive rotator cuff tears using acellular human dermal allograft had better improvement in their WORC scores compared to revision group at the final follow-up. Although the revision group had improved at the two-year follow-up, these changes in WORC score were not sustained at the final follow-up while the improvements were maintained for the primary group. The primary group had a smaller re-tear rate, better fatty infiltration and muscle atrophy as compared to the revision group. This suggests that primary bridging reconstruction provides better outcomes than a revision surgery.

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