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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2007 Nov-Dec;16(6):727-34. Epub 2007 Nov 5.

Teres minor integrity predicts outcome of latissimus dorsi tendon transfer for irreparable rotator cuff tears.

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University of Zurich, Balgrist University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.


In patients with irreparable rotator cuff tears, latissimus dorsi tendon transfer (LDTT) can be effective in improving pain and function. However, the results are variable, and the factors that predict good outcomes are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the integrity of the teres minor musculotendinous unit is predictive of outcome following LDTT. Twenty-two consecutive patients who underwent LDTT for massive, irreparable posterosuperior rotator cuff tears were retrospectively reviewed. Sixteen men and 6 women with a mean age of 58 years (range, 40-68) were analyzed at an average follow-up of 34 months (range, 24-57). Standardized MRI images of all patients were reviewed by 3 independent reviewers. Fatty infiltration of the teres minor was Goutallier stage 0 in 5 patients; stage 1 in 6; stage 2 in 4; stage 3 in 6; and stage 4 in 1. Eleven patients (50%) had partial tears and 2 (9%) had complete tears of the teres minor tendon. Following LDTT, the mean absolute constant score improved from 48 to 62 points (P = .003), age-adjusted constant score improved from 56% to 72% (P = .002), and the subjective shoulder value improved from 24% to 68% (P < .001). Fatty infiltration of the teres minor less than or equal to stage 2 was associated with a better postoperative constant score (67 vs 53, P = .015); age-adjusted constant score (78% vs 59%, P = .012); active external rotation (36 degrees vs 16 degrees , P = .016); and active elevation (143 degrees vs 115 degrees , P = .012) relative to patients with fatty infiltration greater than stage 2. The presence or absence of a tear of the tendon had no significant effect on outcome. In conclusion, when performing LDTT for massive irreparable posterosuperior rotator cuff tears, fatty infiltration of the teres minor should be considered prior to surgery, as it is predictive of outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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