International Orthopaedics

, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp 1423–1430

Treatment of irreparable cuff tears with smoothing of the humeroscapular motion interface without acromioplasty

  • Jason E. Hsu
  • Jacob Gorbaty
  • Robert Lucas
  • Stacy M. Russ
  • Frederick A. MatsenIII
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00264-017-3486-2

Cite this article as:
Hsu, J.E., Gorbaty, J., Lucas, R. et al. International Orthopaedics (SICOT) (2017) 41: 1423. doi:10.1007/s00264-017-3486-2



We sought to determine whether shoulders with irreparable rotator cuff tears and retained active elevation can be durably improved using a conservative surgical procedure that smoothes the interface between the proximal humeral convexity and the concave undersurface of the coracoacromial arch followed by immediate range of motion exercises.


We reviewed 151 patients with a mean age of 63.4 (range 40–90) years at a mean of 7.3 (range 2–19) years after this surgery.


In 77 shoulders with previously unrepaired irreparable tears, simple shoulder test (SST) scores improved from an average of 4.6 (range 0–12) to 8.5 (range 1–12) (p < 0.001). Fifty-four patients (70%) improved by at least the minimally clinically important difference (MCID) of 2 SST points. For 74 shoulders with irreparable failed prior repairs, SST scores improved from 4.0 (range 0–11) to 7.5 (range 0–12) (p < 0.001). Fifty-four patients (73%) improved by the MCID of 2 SST points.


Smoothing of the humeroscapular interface can improve symptomatic shoulders with irreparable cuff tears and retained active elevation. This conservative procedure offers an alternative to more complex procedures in the management of irreparable rotator cuff tears.

Level of Evidence: Level IV


Irreparable cuff tears Humeroscapular motion interface Smooth and move Patient reported outcome 

Copyright information

© SICOT aisbl 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason E. Hsu
    • 1
  • Jacob Gorbaty
    • 2
  • Robert Lucas
    • 3
  • Stacy M. Russ
    • 1
  • Frederick A. MatsenIII
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics and Sports MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of OrthopaedicsCarolinas Medical CenterCharlotteUSA
  3. 3.John Muir HealthLafayetteUSA
  4. 4.Department of Orthopaedics and Sports MedicineUniversity of Washington Medical CenterSeattleUSA

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