, Volume 470, Issue 9, pp 2513-2521
Date: 17 Apr 2012

Does Augmentation with a Reinforced Fascia Patch Improve Rotator Cuff Repair Outcomes?

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Scaffold devices are used to augment rotator cuff repairs in humans. While the strength of a novel poly-L-lactic acid-reinforced (human) fascia patch has been documented, it is unclear whether such patches will enhance the strength or likelihood of healing of rotator cuff repairs.


In a canine shoulder model, we asked: Do tendon repairs augmented with a reinforced fascia patch have (1) increased biomechanical properties at Time 0 and (2) less tendon retraction and increased cross-sectional area and biomechanical properties after 12 weeks of healing compared to repairs without augmentation? (3) Do the biomechanical properties of tendon repairs reach normal values by 12 weeks of healing? And (4) is the host response associated with use of the reinforced fascia patch biocompatible?


Eleven dogs underwent bilateral shoulder surgery with partial release and acute repair of the infraspinatus tendon, one shoulder with augmentation and one without augmentation. Repair retraction, cross-sectional area, biomechanical properties, and biocompatibility were assessed at 12 weeks.


At Time 0, the mean ± SD ultimate load of augmented repairs was 296 ± 130 N (46% ± 25%) more than nonaugmented repairs, with no difference in stiffness between groups. At 12 weeks, the ultimate load of augmented repairs averaged 192 ± 213 N (15% ± 16%) less than nonaugmented repairs, with no difference in stiffness between groups. At the tendon repair site at 12 weeks, the fascia patch showed a biocompatible host tissue response.


The biomechanical properties of repairs augmented with a reinforced fascia patch demonstrated greater ultimate load at Time 0 than nonaugmented repairs but remained essentially unchanged after 12 weeks of healing, despite improvements in the ultimate load of nonaugmented controls in the same time frame.

Clinical Relevance

Together with our previous work, these findings support the possibility that reinforced fascia patches would incorporate and provide (at least early) mechanical augmentation to rotator cuff repair in human patients.

One or more of the authors (KAD) have received funding from a research grant from the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (Edison, NJ, USA).
All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the animal protocol for this investigation and that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research.
This work was performed at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA.