Journal: The Open Orthopaedics Journal


Author(s): Matthias Alexander KönigVolker Alexander Braunstein




Massive tears in the rotator cuff are debilitating pathologies normally associated with loss of function and pain. Tendon reconstruction is seen as the standard treatment in order to preserve shoulder function and to inhibit cuff associated osteoarthritis. However, the effect on longer-term shoulder function and patient satisfaction is unknown.

Material and Methods:

165 consecutive patients with massive tears were included. 57 debridement (mean age 61.9±8.7 years (range 43-77)) and 108 reconstruction (mean age 57.5±8.9 years (range 45-74)) cases could be followed up 2-4 (short-term), 5-6 (mid-term) and 8-10 (long-term) years after surgery. Evaluation was performed with the Constant, a modified ASES and the DASH score. Statistical analysis was done using Sigma-Stat Version 3.5 with a p-value<0.05 indicating statistical significant differences.


All three scoring systems showed no significant differences in the short-term follow-up for the two groups (mean values: Constant debridement/repair: 70±11.9/66±13.6; ASES debridement/repair: 22.3±3.3/ 23.3±3.3; DASH debridement/repair: 22.3±11.0/ 24.3±10.1). In the mid-term (Constant debridement/repair: 51±2.9/68.3±5.2; ASES debridement/repair: 20.3±1.3/24.3±1.7; DASH debridement/repair: 31.0±6.5/20.3±5.4) and long-term follow-up (Constant debridement/repair: 42.3±3.8 /60.7±2.6, ASES debridement/repair: 17.3±0.5/21.7±0.5, DASH debridement/repair: 41.3±6.2/25.0±1.4), rotator cuff reconstruction revealed better objective results and better patients’ satisfaction.


Rotator cuff tendon repair leads to better long-term clinical outcome and subjective satisfaction compared to debridement. Tendon reconstruction should be considered as a treatment for patients suffering from massive rotator cuff tears, thus preserving shoulder function and by that means delay indication for reverse arthroplasty.

To access this article, please visit: