The Impact of Re-tear on the Clinical Outcome after Rotator Cuff Repair Using Open or Arthroscopic Techniques – A Systematic Review

Ilias Galanopoulos*, 1, Aslanidis Ilias1, Konstantinos Karliaftis1, Dimitrios Papadopoulos2, Neil Ashwood3
1 Department of Orthopedics, 401 General Military Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece
2 General Hospital of Athens “Korgialeneio-Benakeio”- Hellenic Red Cross, Athens, Greece
3 Department of Orthopedics, Queen’s Hospital, Burton-on-Trent, United Kingdom

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Creative Commons License
© 2017 Galanopoulos et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopedics, 401 General Military Hospital of Athens Mesogeion & Katechaki Avenue Athens, 11525 Greece; Tel: 00306974715094; E-mail:



It is generally accepted that rotator cuff repair gives satisfactory results in the long term, although most studies have so far shown a fairly high rate of structural failure or re-tear. The purpose of this review study is to assess whether failure of the repaired cuff to heal could negatively affect the functional outcome.


This article includes an extensive Internet PubMed based research in the current English-language literature including level I to level V studies as well as systematic reviews.


According to this extended study research, the results are mixed; certain reports show that patients with a healed rotator cuff repair have improved function and strength compared to those with structural failure, whereas other studies support the generally perceived concept that tendon re-tear does not lead to inferior clinical outcome.


Further high-level prospective studies with larger numbers of patients and longer follow up are needed to overcome the current debate over function between healed and failed rotator cuff repairs.

Keywords: Double-row repair, Failed rotator cuff repair, Single-row repair, Structural failure, Tendon healing.