ICJR COLLECTIONS: Massive Rotator Cuff Tears

    The management of massive, irreparable rotator cuff tears is a challenge for surgeons and patients alike, and they can result in unacceptable functional deficits. Numerous treatment options are available, including:

    • Partial rotator cuff repair with biceps tenodesis and tuberoplasty
    • Superior capsular reconstruction
    • Tendon transfer (eg, latissimus dorsi, lower trapezius)
    • Hemiarthroplasty
    • Reverse shoulder arthroplasty

    Determining which patients are good candidates for which surgical option can be difficult. To help, we’ve collected resources on the management of massive rotator cuff tears from the ICJR archives, including presentations from ICJR meetings, articles, and clinical reports.

    Use the links below if you want to go directly to a specific type of content.

    Rothman Institute Grand Rounds
    Clinical Reports


    Atrophy of the Rotator Cuff, What I Do
    Kevin D. Plancher, MD
    From the 8th Annual Shoulder Course

    Balloon Arthroplasty for Irreparable Rotator Cuff Tear – New Kid on the Block
    Joseph A. Abboud, MD
    From the 8th Annual Shoulder Course

    Let Me Show You What’s Worked: Partial Repair and Biceps Tenodesis
    Larry D. Field, MD
    From the 8th Annual Shoulder Course

    Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty
    Mark A. Frankle, MD
    From the 8th Annual Shoulder Course

    Superior Capsular Reconstruction: Learning Curve
    Jon J.P. Warner, MDFrom the 8th Annual Shoulder Course

    Superior Capsular Reconstruction: Why It Works
    Augustus D. Mazzocca, MS, MD
    From the 8th Annual Shoulder Course

    Tendon Transfers: What’s the Role in 2019?
    Robert Z. Tashjian, MD
    From the 8th Annual Shoulder Course

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    The Evolution of the Superior Capsular Reconstruction Technique
    After years of research and clinical trials, this procedure has become a valuable and viable option to treat patients with irreparable, massive rotator cuff tears.
    Authors: Alan M. Hirahara, MD, FRCSC; Evan S. Lederman, MD; Wyatt J. Andersen, ATC; and Kyle Yamashiro, PT, DPT, CSCS
    Published on March 1, 2018

    Status Update: Use of a Subacromial Spacer to Manage a Massive Irreparable Rotator Cuff Tear
    Results from Europe have been encouraging, with studies demonstrating improvement in pain, range of motion, and functional scores. This article describes the rationale and surgical technique for using a subacromial balloon spacer in patients with large to massive irreparable rotator cuff tears.
    Authors: J. Gabriel Horneff III, MD, and Joseph A. Abboud, MD
    Published on December 20, 2017

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    Rothman Institute Grand Rounds

    Don’t Overlook Partial Repair and Tuberoplasty for Massive Rotator Cuff Tears
    As this case of a 59-year-old patient with right shoulder weakness and pain illustrates, partial repair with tuberoplasty can restore function while relieving pain in patients younger than age 60, buying time until they are at a better age for reverse shoulder arthroplasty to manage a massive rotator cuff tear.
    Author: Daniel E. Davis, MD, MS
    Published on March 11, 2020

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    Clinical Reports

    A Possible Surgical Option for Patients with Irreparable Rotator Cuff Tears
    The arthroscopic superior capsular reconstruction surgical technique can offer patients with irreparable rotator cuff repairs the opportunity to return to sports and jobs that require heavy physical work, according to research presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
    Published July 31, 2017