Purpose: This study presents a retrospective case series of the clinical and structural outcomes (1.5 T MRI) of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair with acellular human dermal graft reinforcement performed by a single surgeon in patients with large, massive, and previously repaired rotator cuff tears.
Materials and methods: Fourteen patients with mean anterior to posterior tear size 3.87 ± 0.99 cm (median 4 cm, range 2.5-6 cm) were enrolled in the study and were evaluated for structural integrity using a high-field (1.5 T) MRI at an average of 16.8 months after surgery. The Constant-Murley scores, the Flexilevel Scale of Shoulder Function (Flex SF), scapular plane abduction, and strength were analyzed.
Results: MRI results showed that the rotator cuff repair was intact in 85.7% (12/14) of the patients studied. Two patients had a Sugaya Type IV recurrent tear (2 of 14; 14.3%), which were both less than 1 cm. The Constant score increased from a preoperative mean of 49.72 (range 13-74) to a postoperative mean of 81.07 (range 45-92) (P value = 0.009). Flexilevel Scale of Shoulder Function (Flex SF) Score normalized to a 100-point scale improved from a preoperative mean of 53.69 to a postoperative mean of 79.71 (P value = 0.003). The Pain Score improved from a preoperative mean of 7.73 to a postoperative mean of 13.57 (P value = 0.008). Scapular plane abduction improved from a preoperative mean of 113.64° to a postoperative mean of 166.43° (P value = 0.010). The strength subset score improved from a preoperative mean of 1.73 kg to a postoperative mean of 7.52 kg (P value = 0.006).
Conclusions: This study presents a safe and effective technique that may help improve the healing rates of large, massive, and revision rotator cuff tears with the use of an acellular human dermal allograft. This technique demonstrated favorable structural healing rates and statistically improved functional outcomes in the near term.
Level of evidence: 4. Retrospective case series.
Keywords: Rotator cuff repair; acellular human dermal graft; rotator cuff healing; rotator cuff reinforcement graft; shoulder arthroscopy.