PURPOSE:To compare two groups of patients who underwent two different arthroscopic procedures for repair of articular-sided partial-thickness rotator cuff tears (PTRCTs). MATERIALS: This is a comparative prospective study of two methods for repair of partial cuff tears: Thirty-two patients underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair with a transtendon technique (group 1); 28 underwent arthroscopic full-thickness conversion and repair of the lesion (group 2). ROM measures, clinical findings, MRI features (tendon healing and re-tear), Constant-Murley and ASES scores were assessed pre- and postoperatively and compared. Patients were also asked about return to sport and level of activity. RESULTS: At the last appointment, patients of both the groups were significantly improved for clinical findings, ROM measures, imaging features, Constant-Murley and ASES scores than at baseline, without any significant inter-group difference. In group 1, 15 of 20 patients (75 %) who practiced recreational sport activities had returned to sport at the same level as before the onset of symptoms, without any discomfort. In group 2, 12 of 18 patients (67 %) had returned to the same level of sport activity they practiced before symptoms. At the last follow up, MRI showed rotator cuff healing in 31 patients of Group 1 and 27 patients of Group 2 (p = 0.83). CONCLUSIONS: The two procedures are safe, effective, and comparable.
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