Superior capsular reconstruction (SCR) is a procedure for treatment of rotator cuff tears. Most rotator cuff tears are able to be fixed surgically with standard repair techniques. Click here to learn more about rotator cuff tears. In the uncommon situation of an irreparable rotator cuff tear, superior capsular reconstruction is an option that may avoid the need for a shoulder replacement.
SCR is an option for rotator cuff tears that are not repairable with standard surgical techniques. This is most common in very large, or massive, rotator cuff tears. Another indication is for previously failed rotator cuff repairs. SCR is not a good option in patients with arthritis.
The surgery is done as an outpatient and is performed arthroscopically. The technique involves insertion of a dermal allograft (thick cadaver skin graft) into the location of the torn rotator cuff. The graft is anchored to the glenoid (socket) and humeral head at the rotator cuff insertions. This is repaired to the remaining rotator cuff and also helps restore mechanics of the superior capsule.
This is a complex and technical surgical procedure. Due to the complexity, this procedure is not performed by very many orthopedic surgeons.
Post-surgical rehabilitation is similar but slightly longer than standard rotator cuff recovery. The shoulder is immobilized for 6-8 weeks in a sling. Lifting is limited for the first 3 months, then gradually progressed over the next several months.
In the right patient, SCR is a great option that reliably minimizes pain and improves function.
At Jackson Orthopaedics, we have been performing superior capsular reconstructions since 2016.