Do you have a large rotator cuff tear? This latest technique may be the procedure for you!

February 06, 2018

Superior Capsular Reconstruction

Do you have shoulder pain and a diagnosed rotator cuff tear? Or did a previous surgery just not help you like you thought it might? A superior capsular reconstruction may be a potential procedure for you!

What Is Superior Capsular Reconstruction?

Superior capsular reconstruction is a recently developed surgical technique for the treatment of large to massive rotator cuff tears that are not able to be repaired with standard rotator cuff repair methods. This procedure uses arthroscopic (minimally-invasive) methods to reconstruct the rotator cuff with use of donor (graft) tissue that is anchored to the attachment site of the rotator cuff. This tissue accommodates for the insufficient rotator cuff by keeping the shoulder "in balance", allowing other muscles to efficiently compensate for the rotator cuff muscles that are torn."

The Procedure and Recovery

The procedure requires advanced knowledge and experience with arthroscopic shoulder surgery; however, if successful, the results with this procedure have been encouraging for patients who would otherwise have more limited surgical treatment options. Dr. Donegan, shoulder and elbow specialist at Bluegrass Orthopaedics, states that "Patients often times experience less early postoperative surgical pain than with a standard rotator cuff repair, however, rehabilitation after this procedure is generally more gradual. This allows time for the graft to incorporate with the shoulder joint. In addition, once the donor tissue has healed, no physical limitations are routinely set for patients who have undergone this surgery." As a result, this surgery is uniquely tailored to address irreparable rotator cuff tears in a young, active population.

Long-Term Benefits

Along with helping a patient's pain and improving mobility, superior capsule reconstruction can also prevent shoulder problems from getting worse. When a rotator cuff tear goes untreated, the humeral head, or "ball part" of the joint, tends to drift higher in the socket, causing an increase of arthritis over time. Superior capsule reconstruction restores the overall alignment of the shoulder joint and normalizes the mechanics, which may slow or stop the condition from progressing. A condition that may have eventually led to a shoulder replacement, may be treated effectively with this procedure, thus avoiding a replacement later in one's life.

What To Learn More?

To learn more about this procedure, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Donegan, Bluegrass Orthopaedics' shoulder and elbow specialist, please visit or call BGO at (859) 263-5140.