J Korean Orthop Assoc.  2020 Feb;55(1):38-45. 10.4055/jkoa.2020.55.1.38.

Arthroscopic Full-Thickness Rotator Cuff Repair in Elderly Patients

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Pusan National University Hospital, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Busan, Korea. scheon@pusan.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Barun Hospital, Busan, Korea.
  • 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Korea.


To examine the clinical and structural outcomes of an at least two-year follow-up of arthroscopic full-thickness rotator cuff repairs with a single-row or suture-bridge technique in patients more than 65 years of age.
Patients diagnosed with a full-thickness rotator cuff tear who were more than 65 years of age, underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair after at least six months of conservative treatment, agreed to take a follow-up magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) six months postoperatively, and visited outpatient for at least two years were enrolled in this study. Clinical evaluations were done using The University of California Los Angeles score, Constant Shoulder Score, and visual analogue scale evaluated two years after the surgery. The structural integrity was analyzed using follow-up MRI. During surgery, a suture-bridge technique was used if the rotator cuff tendon could cover half of the footprint under constant tension. Otherwise, single-row repair was performed.
The samples were 158 cases, consisting of 93 single-repairs and 65 suture-bridge repairs. A preoperative comparison of the age distribution, fatty degeneration of supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscle, medial retraction of torn cuff tendon, and tear size between the two groups were not significant. The clinical scores were improved significantly in all cases. The distribution of the structural integrity by Sugaya classification were 49 cases in type 1 (31.0%), 62 cases in type 2 (39.2%), 30 cases in type 3 (19.0%), 11 cases in type 4 (7.0%), and six cases in type 5 (3.8%). The re-tear rate of the single-row group was 9.7% (nine out of 93 cases) and 12.3% (eight out of 65 cases) for the suture-bridge group.
Satisfactory clinical and radiological outcomes were achieved after arthroscopic full-thickness rotator cuff repair in patients more than 65 years of age. Both single-row and suture-bridge techniques would be beneficial for the elderly.


full-thickness rotator cuff tear; more than 65 years of age; single-row repair; suture-bridge repair
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