Purpose: Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair produces equally good clinical results compared with open or mini-open repair. However, there are concerns about whether the same repair integrity can be achieved. The purpose of our study was to compare clinical and structural results of arthroscopic and mini-open rotator cuff repair.
Methods: Nineteen patients who had arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (mean follow-up, 25.0 months) were matched for age, gender, and duration of symptoms with nineteen patients who had mini-open repair (mean follow-up, 17.6 months). We compared preoperative and follow-up Constant scores, as well as early range of motion after 6 weeks and 3 months. All patients were examined with the same magnetic resonance imaging system at follow-up to evaluate cuff integrity.
Results: There was no difference in clinical and structural outcome. The overall Constant score improved from 53.8 to 83.9 in the arthroscopic group and from 53.5 to 83.7 in the mini-open group. Early range of motion did not differ significantly at 6 weeks or 3 months postoperatively. The number of retears was 6 (31.6%) in the arthroscopic group and 7 (36.8%) in the mini-open group. This difference was not statistically significant (P = .7358). Although smaller retears had no influence on the clinical result, more retracted retears correlated with lower abduction strength regardless of the repair method.
Conclusions: In isolated supraspinatus tears arthroscopic rotator cuff repair produces excellent clinical results and equivalent tendon integrity compared with mini-open repair.
Level of evidence: Level III, retrospective therapeutic comparative study.