Clinical Outcomes of Superior Capsular Reconstruction for Massive, Irreparable Rotator Cuff Tears: A Systematic Review Comparing Acellular Dermal Allograft and Autograft Fascia Lata

Arthrosc Sports Med Rehabil. 2020 Dec 27;3(1):e257-e268. doi: 10.1016/j.asmr.2020.09.002. eCollection 2021 Feb.


Purpose: To investigate clinical outcomes after superior capsular reconstruction (SCR) for the treatment of massive and/or irreparable rotator cuff tears treated with either allograft or autograft.

Methods: Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, in April 2020 a systematic review was performed using PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases. Clinical studies were assessed for patient-reported outcomes and range of motion, comparing dermal allografts to fascia lata autografts, with a minimum follow-up of 12 months.

Results: A total of 16 clinical studies involving 598 patients (606 shoulders) were included for data analysis, with a weighted mean follow-up of 36.9 months (range 12 to 60). Visual analogue scale (VAS) pain scores decreased from 4.0 to 6.9 mm preoperatively to 0 to 2.5 mm postoperatively. American Shoulder & Elbow Surgeons score increased from 20.3 to 54.5 preoperatively to 73.7 to 97.0 postoperatively. Forward flexion increased from 27.0° to 142.7° preoperatively to 134.5° to 167.0° postoperatively. External rotation increased from 13.2° to 41.0° preoperatively to 30.0° to 59.0° postoperatively. Acromiohumeral distance increased from 3.4 to 7.1 mm preoperatively to 6.0 to 9.7 mm postoperatively. The total rates of complications, graft failure, and revision surgery were 5.6%, 13.9%, and 6.9%, respectively.

Conclusions: Irrespective of tissue source, SCR serves as a reasonable joint-preserving option for massive, irreparable rotator cuff tears, with favorable short- to midterm improvements in patient-reported outcomes and range of motion.

Level of evidence: IV, systematic review of level III and IV studies.

Publication types

  • Review