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Acta Chir Belg. 2005 May-Jun;105(3):297-301.

Arthroscopic debridement of irreparable massive rotator cuff tears--a comparison of debridement alone and combined procedure with biceps tenotomy.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany.


The goal of the study was to compare the results of arthroscopic debridement in massive, irreparable rotator cuff tears with and without tenotomy of the long head of the biceps (LHB). We evaluated 41 patients who were treated by a single surgeon for massive, irreparable rotator cuff tears either by arthroscopic debridement alone (24 patients) or with additional tenotomy of LHB (17 patients). The mean age was 67 years (range: 61 to 82 years) and the average follow-up was 31 months (range: 24 to 48 months). There was no significant difference between the two groups in age, gender, pain, function, and follow-up. All patients had significant disabling pain weakness preoperatively. Assessments were made using the Constant score. The average Constant score for the group without LHB tenotomy improved from a mean of 39 points (range: 19 to 54 points) preoperatively to a mean of 67 points (range: 41 to 87 points) and for the group with additional LHB tenotomy from a mean of 41 points (range: 16 to 54 points) preoperatively to a mean of 69 points (range: 49 to 87 points) at the time of follow-up. The radiological study showed no significant narrowing of the subacromial space. No statistical significance (P > .05) was found between the two groups. However, patients with additional LHB tenotomy had a longer duration of postoperative pain relief, but final pain score difference was not statistically significant. There was no complication related to the procedure. Arthroscopic débridement of massive, irreparable rotator cuff tears provides reliable expectation for improvement in function, decrease in pain, and improvement in shoulder scores for most patients. Additional LHB tenotomy did not significantly influence the postoperative results at the latest follow-up. In our series we noted no significant humeral head migration or developing rotator cuff arthropathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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