Tendon transfers for irreparable rotator Cuff tears

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Irreparable rotator cuff tears are infrequent and can result in a debilitating loss of function for patients. These tears are classified as either anterosuperior or posterosuperior, each with its own unique frequency, clinical presentation, examination findings, and prognosis. Various tendon transfers have been described to improve function. Posterosuperior rotator cuff tears are best managed with a combined latissimus dorsi and teres major tendon transfer, as the teres major tendon has the best biomechanical profile to improve function, but is by itself too small, with poor excursion to accomplish an isolated transfer. For the anterosuperior tear, a pectoralis major transfer has been most widely utilized. Techniques transferring the sternal head in a subcoracoid fashion may improve results by closer mimicking the biomechanics of the subscapularis, reducing the bulk of the transfer and improving cosmesis. Multiple other transfers have been described with varying success and limited outcome data. Patient selection and adherence to postoperative rehabilitation remains crucial to the success of these procedures, as well as to deltoid integrity and tendon quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalBulletin of the NYU hospital for joint diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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