Acta Orthopaedica et Traumatologica Turcica

Free coracoacromial ligament graft for augmentation of massive rotator cuff tears treated with miniopen repair

AOTT 2010; 44: 426-430
DOI: 10.3944/AOTT.2010.2423
Read: 997 Downloads: 821 Published: 07 February 2020

Objectives: Repair of massive rotator cuff tears is a challenging and complex procedure. The tissue at the end of the torn tendons is often friable and weak, because ruptures are old and degenerated, and thus the ends must be sutured effectively and strongly to achieve a satisfactory outcome. We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of free total or partial coracoacromial ligament (CAL) graft to protect and augment the repair of massive rotator cuff tears.

Methods: Forty six patients ((32 females, mean age 54.3 years (range 39-66 years)) operated for massive rotator cuff tears between January 2003 and June 2009 were included in the study. Twenty nine of these patients had right-sided tears, and 17 had left-sided tears. Fifteen of the tears were 3-4 cm wide (mean 3.5 cm); 27 were >4 cm wide (mean 4.5 cm), and 4 were >5 cm wide. The mean follow-up period was 26 months (range 16-52 months). Patients were operated with a mini-open technique, and reconstructed after primary repair with 18 total and 28 partial free transfer of the CAL. Patients were evaluated by Constant-Murley score, and the degree of active flexion and abduction. Tendon thickness was measured with ultrasonography during follow-up.

Results: Mean preoperative shoulder flexion was 27.5° (range 5-40°), and mean abduction was 22.5° (range 10-30°). Shoulder flexion was significantly greater postoperatively (mean 102.6°, range 70-150°), as was shoulder abduction (mean 96.5°, range 60-150°). Mean preoperative and postoperative Constant-Murley score was 45 and 80, respectively. Surgical complications, particularly recurrence, did not occur in any patient during the follow-up period. The integrity and tendon thickness of the repairs were similar to those of normal tendons at the end of follow-up.

Conclusion: Augmentation with a free transfer of the coracoacromial ligament provides excellent and promising functional results in the operative treatment of massive rotator cuff tears with a mini-open technique.

ISSN 1017-995X EISSN 2589-1294