NYMC Faculty Publications

Superior Capsular Reconstruction Using the Biceps Tendon in the Treatment of Irreparable Massive Rotator Cuff Tears Improves Patient-Reported Outcome Scores: A Systematic Review

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Arthroscopy, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation

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Orthopedic Surgery


PURPOSE: To systematically evaluate the clinical outcomes of superior capsular reconstruction (SCR) using the long head of the biceps tendon for irreparable massive rotator cuff tears. METHODS: Multiple electronic databases were searched for studies treating massive and/or irreparable rotator cuff tears with SCR using the biceps tendon while retaining its proximal attachment to the superior glenoid. A PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses) flowchart was created. All the included studies were assessed for quality with the Modified Coleman Methodology Score. Multiple variables including patient demographic characteristics, functional scores, visual analog scale (VAS) scores, and complications were extracted and analyzed. RESULTS: Seven studies were included in this review, with a total of 133 patients. The age range of patients was 39 to 82 years, and the duration of follow-up ranged from 6 to 40.7 months. Various validated scoring systems were used for functional outcome evaluation in all studies; all of them showed postoperative improvement greater than the minimal clinically important difference. The VAS score improvement ranged from 3.8 to 7.1. Five studies reported improvement in shoulder forward elevation, with a range of 22° to 95°. Three studies reported retear rates of 21%, 37%, and 66% on postoperative magnetic resonance imaging scans. Two studies reported complications, with the first study reporting revision surgery in 4 of 35 patients and the second study reporting 1 infection and 1 case of deltoid detachment (open procedure) among 17 patients. CONCLUSIONS: SCR using the long head of the biceps tendon is a safe and effective procedure. VAS and patient-reported outcome scores showed significant improvement with minimal short-term complications. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV, systematic review of Level III and IV studies.