Tendon Transfers for Irreparable Rotator Cuff Tears

Reza Omid J Am Acad Orthop Surg. Vol 21 Nº 8 August 2013

Tendon transfer is one treatment option for patients with massive irreparable rotator cuff tears. Although surgical indications are not clearly defined, the traditional thought is that the ideal candidate is young and lacks significant glenohumeral arthritis. The proposed benefits of tendon transfers are pain relief and potential increase in strength. The biomechanical rationale for the procedure is to restore the glenohumeral joint force couple and possibly to restore normal shoulder kinematics. The selection of donor tendon depends on the location of the rotator cuff deficiency. Transfers of latissimus dorsi and pectoralis major tendons have been shown to consistently improve pain; however, functional benefits are unpredictable. Trapezius tendon transfer may be an alternative in patients with massive posterosuperior rotator cuff tears, although longer-term follow-up is required.

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