Improved Outcomes Following Arthroscopic Superior Capsular Reconstruction May Not Be Associated With Changes in Shoulder Kinematics: An In Vivo Study

Arthroscopy. 2022 Feb;38(2):267-275. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2021.06.018. Epub 2021 Jul 6.


Purpose: To determine the in vivo effects of superior capsule reconstruction (SCR) on glenohumeral kinematics during abduction and to compare those kinematics results with patient-reported outcomes, range of motion, and strength.

Methods: Dynamic biplane radiography was used to image 10 patients with irreparable rotator cuff tears while performing scapular plane abduction pre- and 1-year post-surgery. Shoulder kinematics were determined by matching subject-specific computed tomography-based bone models to the radiographs using a validated tracking technique.

Results: No change was detected in static acromiohumeral distance (-0.7 ± 2.1 mm; P = .35); however, average dynamic acromiohumeral distance decreased (2.7 ± 1.2 mm to 2.3 ± 1.0 mm; P = .035) from pre- to 1-year post-surgery, respectively. The humeral head position was 0.5 ± 0.5 mm more superior 1-year post-surgery compared with pre-surgery (P = .01). Glenohumeral abduction increased from pre-surgery (150 ± 20°) to 1-year post-surgery (165 ± 10°) (P = .04) and all patient-reported outcomes improved from pre-surgery to 1-year post-surgery (all P < .002). A more posterior shift in humeral head position was associated with improved American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Shoulder Score from pre-surgery to 1-year post-surgery (r = 0.71, P = .02).

Conclusions: These data suggest that SCR may not depress the humeral head during functional abduction, as previously postulated, and postoperative improvements in subjective and clinical outcomes may be affected by mechanisms other than changes in shoulder kinematics.

Clinical relevance: In vivo kinematics changes after SCR are small and do not correspond to previously postulated changes.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Humeral Head / surgery
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries* / surgery
  • Shoulder / surgery
  • Shoulder Joint* / surgery