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Clin Orthop Surg. 2017 Dec;9(4):497-505. doi: 10.4055/cios.2017.9.4.497. Epub 2017 Nov 10.

Bridging Graft in Irreparable Massive Rotator Cuff Tears: Autogenic Biceps Graft versus Allogenic Dermal Patch Graft.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.



Few comparative studies have reported on the use of biologic grafts for irreparable massive rotator cuff tears. The purpose of this study was to assess the results of arthroscopic bridging graft in irreparable massive rotator cuff tears using an autogenic long head of biceps tendon (LHBT) or an allogenic dermal patch (ADP).


We retrospectively reviewed 24 patients treated using the LHBT (group I) and eight patients with complete rupture of the LHBT treated using an ADP (group II) since 2011. Preoperative Goutallier's fatty degeneration, range of motion (ROM), visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) score, and Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) score were assessed and healing failure was evaluated at 1 year after surgery by ultrasonography or magnetic resonance imaging.


The mean fatty degeneration in groups I and II was 3.9 and 3.6 for the supraspinatus (p = 0.288), 2.7 and 2.9 for the infraspinatus (p = 0.685), 0.9 and 1.3 for the subscapularis (p = 0.314), and 1.3 and 3.0 for the teres minor (p = 0.005), respectively. Subscapularis tears were found in 8 patients (33.3%) in group I and in 7 patients (87.5%) in group II (p = 0.023). Mean ROMs and functional scores improved significantly in group I (forward flexion: 121.7° to 153.3°, p = 0.010; external rotation: 32.7° to 52.7°, p = 0.001; external rotation at 90°: 63.3° to 74.5°, p = 0.031; internal rotation: T10.5 to T9.3, p = 0.045; VAS: 7.0 to 1.1, p < 0.001; ASES score: 45.4 to 81.6, p = 0.028; and Quick DASH score: 50.0 to 14.2, p = 0.017), whereas only VAS showed significant improvement in group II (from 5.9 to 2.0, p = 0.025) and ROMs and other functional scores increased without statistical significance in the group. Healing failure was found in 13 patients (54.2%) in group I and in 6 patients (75.0%) in group II (p = 0.404).


The surgeon should prudently choose surgical options for irreparable massive rotator cuff tears, especially in patients with severe fatty degeneration in the teres minor or combined biceps and subscapularis tears.


Biceps graft; Massive tear; Patch graft; Rotator cuff

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