Partial Rotator Cuff Repair for Massive Rotator Cuff Repair

  • Edward A. Lin
  • Loukia K. Papatheodorou
  • Dean G. Sotereanos


Massive full-thickness rotator cuff tears are a challenging problem for the orthopedic surgeon. They are often associated with factors that portend a poor outcome following surgical treatment, such as poor tendon quality, retraction of the tendon, and extensive scarring. Massive rotator cuff tears that are retracted and scarred are often difficult or impossible to completely repair. There is no consensus in the literature as to the most effective treatment for these patients. In these cases, partial rotator cuff repair is an option. This involves repairing the anterior and posterior edges of the tear while leaving the central portion of the tear in place, thus restoring the ability of the rotator cuff to act as a force couple. By restoring the balance between the anteriorly and posteriorly directed forces acting on the humeral head, glenohumeral function is improved even in the absence of complete anatomic integrity of the rotator cuff. If possible, it is also recommend that the addition of a margin convergence procedure be considered. Although not all studies agree, there is significant evidence to show that partial rotator cuff repair may significantly improve shoulder function. More studies are required to determine whether these gains are retained over long-term follow-up.


Massive rotator cuff tear Margin convergence procedure Partial rotator cuff repair 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward A. Lin
    • 1
  • Loukia K. Papatheodorou
    • 2
  • Dean G. Sotereanos
    • 2
  1. 1.Kayal Orthopaedic CenterGlen RockUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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