Overview | Causes of Shoulder Pain | Pain Prevention | Nonsurgical Options | Rotator Cuff Arthroscopy | Shoulder Impingement Surgery | Total Shoulder Replacement | Reverse Shoulder Replacement | Superior Capsule Reconstruction

Superior Capsule Reconstruction (SCR) offers new hope for rotator cuff tears

It’s estimated that 40% of rotator cuff tears are classified as “massive”. With these specific shoulder tears, if treatment isn’t done promptly, the injury can result in permanent atrophy of the muscles along with fatty infiltration into the joint, resulting in an irreperable tear and lifelong problems including loss of strength, ongoing shouder pain and increased arthritis.

Consequently, the clock is ticking with massive rotator cuff tears. The problem has been one of choosing an appropriate treatment based on the patient’s age.

For instance, while shoulder replacement may be an option for the older patient, longevity of an artificial joint is a problem for younger patients. Some research cites that 15% of patients with shoulder replacement may need revision surgery after 10 years because of the artificial joint wearing out.  Consequently, a patient in their 50s is likely to need revision surgery within their lifetime.

Thankfully, there is a new technique called Superior Capsule Reconstruction (SCR) that reconstructs the shoulder capsule so patients can recover the use of the shoulder.  With a large rotator cuff tear, the humeral head over time will gradually drift up and out of the socket. The rotator cuff helps depress the humeral head. But without the downward force of the rotator cuff, the head leaves the socket. The goal of SCR is to reconstruct the joint with a graft of tissue from a cadaver to reconstruct the capsule and prevent the head from coming out of position.

After the surgery, the shoulder joint is immobilized for about six weeks. Therapy for range of motion starts at about four weeks post surgery, with active motion at six weeks. We’re pleased to be one of few centers in the State of Montana to provide this new shoulder treatment option for rotator cuff tears.