Fascia lata allograft bridging of a rotator cuff tear in a rabbit animal model

Int J Shoulder Surg. 2014 Apr;8(2):39-46. doi: 10.4103/0973-6042.137526.


Purpose: Despite advances in surgical treatment options, large rotator cuff (r-c) tears still represent a challenge for orthopedic surgeons. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the temporary and spatial histological incorporation of fascia lata allografts, used for bridging artificially created defects of the r-c.

Materials and methods: Seventy-two rabbits were divided into two groups and a supraspinatus tendinous defect was created. Half of the rabbit population underwent repair only, while in the other half, the defect was bridged utilizing fascia lata allograft. The animals were euthanized at 2, 4, and 6 weeks postoperative. Half of the specimens were evaluated histologically and the other half underwent mechanical testing.

Results: There was an increased remodeling activity, fibroblastic in growth and strong presence of collagen fibers observed at 6 weeks on both groups. A gradually increasing mechanical strength was noticed by week 6 and increased toughness was also found at the same time period. There was no significant difference observed between the two groups regarding their histological and mechanical properties.

Conclusions: In the difficult scenario of a large irreparable tear where the simple suture of the remaining r-c is impossible, allograft bridging, could be used with satisfactory results.

Clinical relevance: Treatment Study, Level 1.

Keywords: Biomechanics; fascia lata allograft patch; graft bridging; histology; massive or irreparable tears of the rotator cuff; rabbit shoulder; rotator cuff repair.