Recent studies on animal models focused on the effect of preserving tendon remnant of rotator cuff on tendon healing. A positive effect by combining tendon remnant preservation and small bone vents on the greater tuberosity in comparison with standard tendon-to-bone repair has been shown. The purpose of the present clinical study was to evaluate the efficacy of biologic augmentation of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair by maintaining tendon remnant on rotator cuff footprint combined with small bone vents of the greater tuberosity.
A retrospective study was conducted. All patients who underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair associated with small bone vents (nanofractures) and tendon footprint preservation were considered eligible for the study. Inclusion criteria were: diagnosis of full-thickness rotator cuff tear as diagnosed at preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and confirmed at the time of surgery; minimum 24-month of follow-up and availability of post-operative MRI performed not earlier than 6 months after surgery. Exclusion criteria were: partial thickness tears, irreparable tears, capsulo-labral pathologies, calcific tendonitis, gleno-humeral osteoarthritis and/or previous surgery.
Primary outcome was the ASES score. Secondary outcomes were: Quick-DASH and WORC scores, and structural integrity of repaired tendons by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed six months after surgery. A paired t-test was used to compare pre- and postoperative clinical outcomes. Subgroup analysis was performed according to tear size. Significance was set at p < 0.05.
The study included 29 patients (M:F = 15:14). Mean age (+ SD) of patients was 61.7 + 8.9 years. Mean follow-up was 27.4 ± 2.3 months. Comparison between pre- and postoperative functional scores showed significant clinical improvement (p < 0.001). Subgroup analysis for tear size showed significant differences in the QuickDASH score (0.04). Particularly, a significant difference in the QuickDASH score could be detected between medium and large tears (p=0.008) as well as medium and massive lesions (p=0.04). No differences could be detected between large and massive tears (p= 0.35). Postoperative imaging showed healed tendons in 21 out of 29 (72%) cases.
Preservation of tendon remnant combined with small bone vents in the repair of medium-to-massive full-thickness rotator cuff tears provided significant improvement in clinical outcome compared to baseline conditions with complete structural integrity in 72% of the cases.