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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2008 Jul-Aug;17(4):527-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2007.11.022. Epub 2008 Apr 21.

Latissimus dorsi transfer for irreparable rotator cuff tears: a longitudinal study.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Marienstift Arnstadt, Arnstadt, Germany.


Latissimus dorsi transfer is indicated for isolated posterior superior defects of the rotator cuff. Additional lesions limit the success of the outcome, but they are relatively frequent in revision surgery. We analyzed their influence on the postoperative function in 52 patients with an irreparable tear of the rotator cuff (35 primary operations, 17 revision surgeries). We observed a continuous improvement in the Constant score from 36 to 69 points, also in ROM, strength, relief of pain and of different subjective parameters for the entire group in consecutive examinations at 11.1, 35.7 and 50.2 months. We found increased osteoarthritis (from 1.0 to 1.5 mm), as well as a decrease in the acromiohumeral distance (from 5.6 to 4.7 mm). In contrast, we detected a slight decrease in the values in the revision group and in the presence of an additional subscapularis lesion.

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