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An OrthoRadiological review of superior capsularreconstruction in the shoulder

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Superior capsular reconstruction (SCR) is an emerging surgical technique used to treat patients with irreparable rotator cuff tears. In this procedure, a graft is attached between the superior glenoid and the greater tuberosity, with the aim of optimising glenohumeral joint function and stability. Pre-operative radiological evaluation of patients having such cuff tears is crucial for appropriate patient selection. Such imaging is particularly useful for the assessment of the cuff tear size and location, muscle wasting, fatty infiltration and the presence of any glenohumeral joint arthritis. In addition, post-operative imaging is useful in assessing graft integrity, with specific patterns of graft failure now being recognised on imaging. This article will discuss the indications and contraindications for this procedure, and review the biomechanical concepts of SCR in improving glenohumeral joint stability and restoring the force couples around the joint. The radiological appearances of the intact graft and the various patterns of graft failure will be illustrated, along with various radiological examples.

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Correspondence to Zeid Al-Ani.

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Al-Ani, Z., Monga, P., Walton, M. et al. An OrthoRadiological review of superior capsularreconstruction in the shoulder. Skeletal Radiol 50, 267–280 (2021).

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  • Superior capsular reconstruction
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Massive cuff tear