Postoperative bone marrow edema lasts no more than 6 months after uncomplicated arthroscopic double-row rotator cuff repair with PEEK anchors



To assess the natural evolution of the osseous reaction following arthroscopic double-row rotator cuff repair with PEEK anchors and to analyze its correlation with clinical shoulder function.


Between 2015 and 2017, 159 patients received arthroscopic double-row rotator cuff repair with PEEK anchors and underwent serial clinical and radiological follow-up (3, 6, 12, and 24 months). Radiological results were analyzed by tendon integrity, bone marrow edema, and peri-implant osteolysis. Clinical shoulder function was evaluated with the Constant score.


One-hundred and seventeen patients were enrolled; among them, 63% demonstrated bone marrow edema around the anchors on postoperative 3-month MRI. The edema area percentage was 41% ± 7%. At 6 months, edema was only seen in 12% of cases, with an area percentage of 18% ± 5%. At 12 and 24 months, edema was rarely present. Fluid signals around the anchor were observed in 17.6%, 42.7%, 33.3%, and 21.0% of patients at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months, respectively; the tunnel widening values were 1.1 ± 0.4 mm, 1.8 ± 0.5 mm, 2.3 ± 0.6 mm, and 2.2 ± 0.7 mm at each follow-up, respectively. The sign of osteolysis was significantly more obvious around the lateral anchor than around the medial anchor. The presence of an osseous reaction was not correlated with worse clinical outcome.


Osseous reactions following arthroscopic rotator cuff repair are common and significant even with PEEK anchors. Bone marrow edema does not last more than 6 months in patients without complications. Peri-implant osteolysis is more evident around the lateral anchor than around the medial anchor and improves gradually over time. The sign of osteolysis is not correlated with clinical shoulder function. Based on these findings, surgeons should be cautious about bone marrow edema lasting more than 6 months following arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.

Level of evidence

Level IV.

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This study was funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China (No.81600615).

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Correspondence to Hong Chen.

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All procedures performed in this retrospective study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, and this study was performed after obtaining approval from our institutional review board (IRB, No. 20194701).

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Chen, S., He, Y., Wu, D. et al. Postoperative bone marrow edema lasts no more than 6 months after uncomplicated arthroscopic double-row rotator cuff repair with PEEK anchors. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 29, 162–169 (2021).

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  • Rotator cuff repair
  • PEEK anchor
  • Bone marrow edema
  • Osteolysis