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J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2014 Feb;22(2):80-9. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-22-02-80.

Arthroscopic subscapularis repair.


As the largest and most powerful rotator cuff muscle, the subscapularis plays a critical role in proper shoulder function. The diagnosis of subscapularis tears is made based on history and physical examination and confirmed with imaging studies. Historically, subscapularis tears have been addressed in an open fashion. Recent literature has demonstrated successful all-arthroscopic repair of isolated subscapularis tears and anterosuperior rotator cuff tears. Successful arthroscopic treatment follows several critical steps: patient positioning, portal placement, obtaining adequate visualization and working space, identifying and mobilizing the subscapularis tendon, preparation of the tendon edge and lesser tuberosity, appropriate anchor placement, suture passage, and finally, secure knot-tying and fixation. Excellent functional and clinical outcomes following these steps have been demonstrated by various investigators. Additional research is needed, however, because direct comparison between all-arthroscopic and open subscapularis repair is limited, and neither technique has proved to be superior.

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