SCR Superior Capsular Reconstruction For Irrepairable Rotator Cuff Tear
Until now when rotator cuff tears were torn too severely for repair the only alternatives were so called reverse shoulder replacement, a massive operation without proven long term results, and latissimus dorsi transfer, another massive operation with mixed results that is seldom done. However a new procedure devised overseas has become available that can restore shoulder mechanics and function in this previously irrepairable shoulders by restoring a ligament on top of the shoulder that – amazingly – was only discovered in the last few years. This procedure is called superior capsular reconstruction or SCR. Stephen Burkhart in San Antonio, in my opinion the finest shoulder surgeon in the world, has developed this procedure in the United States. Having studied this procedure and decided to adopt it for my own practice, I also decided to visit Dr Burkhart to learn various technical “pearls” that he has found to make the procedure more efficient as the most experienced practitioner of this procedure. I spent the day in surgery with him in San Antonio recently where he operated on one of my patients who I sent to him and one of his own. Although I have been a dedicated shoulder specialist for over 30 years and received fellowship training in shoulder surgery at Harvard and the Mass General Hospital, I have always enjoyed learning from other thought leaders. Dr Burkhart is as humble as he is brilliant and I greatly enjoyed this visit. I am now offering the procedure to my patients as a viable alternative to reverse shoulder arthroplasty. It is also important to realize that, unlike metal and plastic shoulder replacement, the SCR procedure burns no bridges and if results are disappointing shoulder replacement can always be done later. In addition, it is no-incision arthroscopic surgery accomplished only through tiny punctures without cutting any muscle. My practice is devoted to restoration, joint preservation and healing, and I am excited to add this technique to my surgical armamentarium in this regard.