Alan M. Hirahara, MD, FRCSC
Orthopaedic SurgeonSpecialist in Sports Medicine

Biomechanical Comparison of 3 Glenoid-Side Fixation Techniques for Superior Capsular Reconstruction

Pogorzelski J, Muckenhirn KJ, Mitchell JJ, Katthagen JC, Schon JM, Dahl KD, Hirahara AM, Dines JS, Adams CR, Dooney T, Denard PJ, Turnbull TL, Millett PJ
American Journal of Sports Medicine
DOI: 10.1177/0363546517745626
PMID: 29281797

March 1st 2018


Superior capsular reconstruction (SCR) was recently introduced as a treatment for irreparable superior rotator cuff tears in younger patients. Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose was to assess the biomechanical strength of 3 methods for fixation of the graft to the glenoid for SCR. It was hypothesized that a 4-anchor technique would provide greater load to failure than 3-anchor techniques.


Controlled laboratory study.


Thirty-six cadaveric specimens were randomized into 3 groups of previously established glenoid-side graft fixation techniques: (1) three 3.5-mm knotless screw-in anchors, (2) three 3.0-mm knotless push-in anchors, and (3) a 4-anchor hybrid construct with two 3.0-mm knotted push-in anchors and two 2.9-mm knotless push-in anchors. The repairs were cyclically loaded at 0.5 Hz from 10 to 200 N, then pulled to failure. Elongation, stiffness, maximum load at failure, and mode of failure were recorded and calculated.


There were no significant differences in graft elongation or stiffness among the 3 techniques ( P > .37 and P > .26, respectively). Maximum load to failure was significantly greater in technique 1 (mean ± SD, 427.85 ± 119.70 N) than technique 3 (319.5 ± 57.60 N) ( P = 0.024). There were no significant differences in load to failure between techniques 1 and 2 or between techniques 2 and 3.


Glenoid-side graft fixation with 3 threaded 3.5-mm suture anchors showed a significant superior pull-out strength when compared with a 4-anchor hybrid technique and thus might be recommended in SCR for patients with irreparable superior rotator cuff tears to achieve maximum stability.


SCR presents a novel alternative for treatment of irreparable superior rotator cuff tears in younger patients. Glenoid fixation is essential to provide adequate fixation of the graft to prevent the humeral head from rising and to restore normal biomechanics.