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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2010 Mar;19(2 Suppl):104-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2009.12.017.

Arthroscopic GraftJacket repair of rotator cuff tears.

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Orthopaedic Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.



Management of massive, degenerative, and irreparable rotator cuff tears is challenging. Excessive re-tear rates and poor clinical outcome after standard repair have led to alternative methods of treatment. Tendon transfers and shoulder arthroplasty have had mixed results; both are invasive procedures with high potential morbidity. We began performing rotator cuff augmentation and replacement using GraftJacket allograft acellular human dermal matrix as a biologic minimally invasive alternative in this difficult population almost 6 years ago. This article highlights our preferred arthroscopic technique and early results.


From January 2004 to June 2007, 45 patients (36 men, 9 women) with massive rotator cuff tears were treated arthroscopically with the GraftJacket allograft. All patients completed a preoperative University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) score. Follow-up was a minimum of 2 years (range, 24-68 months) and patients completed UCLA, Western Ontario Rotator Cuff (WORC), and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) scores.


Analysis was performed using the 3 validated outcomes measurement scores. The mean UCLA score increased from 18.4 preoperatively to 27.5 postoperatively (P < .000). The average WORC score was 75.2, and the ASES score was 84.1 at the final follow-up.


Evidence-based data to outline an algorithm for management of irreparable rotator cuff tears is being developed. We documented significant clinical improvement with arthroscopic rotator cuff reconstruction using the GraftJacket allograft acellular human dermal matrix. The procedure is safe and associated with high patient satisfaction, without the morbidity of tendon transfer or arthroplasty. For those few cases where further surgery is required, no bridges are burned. The early success of this procedure warrants further study with more patients, longer follow-up, and higher levels of evidence-based investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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