Background: Irreparable rotator cuff tears associated with shoulder functional impairment represent a challenge, especially in young and active patients. Latissimus dorsi muscle-tendon transfer is performed to replace the irreversibly lost contractile elements in patients with irreparable tears of the posterosuperior aspect of the rotator cuff.
Methods: From 2008 to 2010, we enrolled twenty-seven patients (mean age, sixty years; range, forty-six to sixty-seven years) with irreparable, full-thickness rotator cuff tears involving at least two tendons who underwent arthroscopic-assisted latissimus dorsi muscle-tendon transfer. Outcome measures included the Constant and Murley score, shoulder range of motion in external rotation, and muscle strength in forward elevation. The mean duration of follow-up was twenty-seven months (range, twenty-four to thirty-six months).
Results: There was a significant improvement (p < 0.05) in the mean Constant and Murley score, pain score, muscle strength in forward elevation, and range of motion in external rotation at the time of the last follow-up. There was no significant correlation between the mean preoperative range of motion, pain, and strength and the mean postoperative Constant and Murley score. There was no significant osteoarthritis progression and proximal migration of the humeral head after surgery in the time period studied.
Conclusions: Arthroscopic-assisted latissimus dorsi muscle-tendon transfer at short-term follow-up is an effective alternative to open surgery for the management of painful irreparable posterosuperior rotator cuff tears refractory to conservative management.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Villa Maria Cecilia Hospital, Ravenna, Italy; the Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome, Italy; and the Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London, England
Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interestsubmitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.