Superior capsular reconstruction - A systematic review and meta-analysis

Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2021 Dec;107(8S):103072. doi: 10.1016/j.otsr.2021.103072. Epub 2021 Sep 22.


Background: Since Mihata's 2012 proposal to arthroscopically reconstruct the superior capsule of patients with massive irreparable cuff tears, many studies have reported the clinical results of this technique using different types of grafts (fascia lata autograft, dermal allograft, porcine dermal xenograft or long head of biceps autograft).

Purpose: The objective of this meta-analysis was to report the clinical and radiological results of these superior capsule reconstructions.

Methods: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyzes (PRISMA) recommendations were used to conduct this systematic review. A bibliographic search was performed of the electronic databases MEDLINE, Scopus, Embase and the Cochrane Library. The quality of the studies was assessed according to the MINORS criterion (Methodological Index for Nonrandomized Studies). The inclusion criteria were studies in English evaluating superior capsular reconstruction.

Results: No level I or II studies met the inclusion criteria. Eighteen studies were selected from the 97 identified, including 637 shoulders (64% male) with a mean age of 62 years [95% CI: 60.3-63.5]. At the mean follow-up of 24.3 months (12-60), the range of motion was significantly increased from 82.6° [60.0-105.2] to 141.9° [109.9-173.8] in abduction, from 113.1° [98.3-127.9] to 153.3° [147.4-159.2] in elevation, from 35.5° [30.9-40.2] 43.4° [35.4-51.3] in external rotation and from 7.2 [5.4-9] to 9.9 [8.9-10.9] in internal rotation. Functional scores were significantly improved from 5.4 [4.8-5.9] to 1.3 [0.9-1.7] points for VAS, from 42.5 [15.7-69.3] to 59.3 [30.1-88.6] points for Constant, from 39.0% [38.1-39.8] to 79.8% [76.4-83.3] for the SSV, and from 48.2 [45.2-51.1] to 81.2 [77.2-85.1] points for the ASES. The healing rate was 76.1% [64.4-84.9]. The complication rate was 5.6% [1.8-16.3] and the reverse shoulder arthroplasty revision rate was 7.1% [3.8-12.8].

Conclusion: Superior capsule reconstructions allow satisfactory clinical and radiological results to be obtained at 2 years of follow-up. Due to the small number of high quality comparative studies available, its true place in the therapeutic arsenal cannot be fully confirmed. However, it seems that the best indication for this technique is isolated irreparable rupture of the supraspinatus, in cases of medical treatment failure.

Level of evidence: III; meta-analysis of heterogeneous studies.

Keywords: Fascia lata; Fatty infiltration; Goutallier; Long head of biceps; Massive irreparable rupture of the cuff; SCR.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy / methods
  • Fascia Lata / transplantation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries* / surgery
  • Shoulder Joint* / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Joint* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome