Is double-row rotator cuff repair clinically superior to single-row rotator cuff repair: a systematic review of overlapping meta-analyses

Arthroscopy. 2014 Sep;30(9):1156-65. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2014.03.015. Epub 2014 May 10.


Purpose: Multiple meta-analyses of randomized clinical trials, the highest available level of evidence, have been conducted to determine whether double-row (DR) or single-row (SR) rotator cuff repair (RCR) provides superior clinical outcomes and structural healing; however, results are discordant. The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of meta-analyses comparing SR and DR RCR to elucidate the cause of discordance and to determine which meta-analysis provides the current best available evidence.

Methods: In this study we evaluated available scientific support for SR versus DR RCR by systematically reviewing the literature for published meta-analyses. Data were extracted from these meta-analyses for patient outcomes and structural healing. Meta-analysis quality was assessed with the Oxman-Guyatt and Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses (QUOROM) systems. The Jadad algorithm was then applied to determine which meta-analyses provided the highest level of evidence.

Results: Eight meta-analyses met the eligibility criteria: 4 including Level I evidence and 4 including both Level I and Level II evidence. Six meta-analyses found no differences between SR and DR RCR for patient outcomes, whereas 2 favored DR RCR for tears greater than 3 cm. Two meta-analyses found no structural healing differences between SR and DR RCR, whereas 3 found DR repair to be superior for tears greater than 3 cm and 2 found DR repair to be superior for all tears. Four meta-analyses had low Oxman-Guyatt scores (<3) indicative of major flaws. After application of the Jadad algorithm, 3 concordant high-quality meta-analyses were selected, all of which found significantly better structural healing with DR compared with SR RCR.

Conclusions: According to this systematic review of overlapping meta-analyses comparing SR and DR RCR, the current highest level of evidence suggests that DR RCR provides superior structural healing to SR RCR.

Level of evidence: Level II, systematic review of Level I and II studies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine / standards
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery*
  • Suture Anchors*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing