Management of massive and irreparable rotator cuff tears

Brian R. Neri, Keith W. Chan, Young W. Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Abstract: Massive rotator cuff tears pose a distinct clinical challenge for the orthopaedist. In this review, we will discuss the classification, diagnosis, and evaluation of massive rotator cuff tears before discussing various treatment options for this problem. Nonoperative treatment has had inconsistent results and proven unsuccessful for chronic symptoms while operative treatment including débridement and partial and complete repairs have had varying degrees of success. For rotator cuff tears that are deemed irreparable, treatment options are limited. The use of tendon transfers in younger patients to reconstruct rotator cuff function and restore shoulder kinematics can be useful in salvaging this difficult problem. Level of Evidence: Review Article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-818
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Massive
  • irreparable
  • management
  • rotator cuff tears
  • tendon transfers


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