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The prevalence of rotator cuff tears is a leading cause of upper extremity functional disability and affects people across the lifespan. The primary age groups that are diagnosed include young adults as well as the elderly population. Approximately one-fifth of rotator cuff tears (RCT) are diagnosed as “massive” and prove to be difficult for orthopedic surgeons to repair. If the massive RCT is also diagnosed as “irreparable”, surgical intervention is technically difficult and can be extremely challenging. Historically, treatment options have been limited for the young population to invasive surgical intervention or conservative measures such as physical therapy and pharmacologic measures. Surgical approaches to treatment may include a reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) or a superior capsular reconstruction (SCR). The purpose of this study is to determine if a superior capsular reconstruction is a better surgical alternative than a reverse shoulder arthroplasty in the young, active population with a massive irreparable rotator cuff tear. An SCR has shown successful short-term outcomes and utilizes an anatomical approach. Each surgical option is feasible; however, the postoperative degree of functionality is the substantial difference between either surgical technique. Research has proven the efficacy of the SCR versus the RSA. Although there is limited current evidence-based research in the field of longevity and its potential outcomes, the SCR is the leading surgical option for massive irreparable RCT repairs in the young, active population.


Physician Assistant Studies

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Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

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superior capsular reconstruction; reverse shoulder arthroplasty in young patients; massive irreparable rotator cuff tear



Superior Capsular Reconstruction in the Active Population with a Massive Irreparable Rotator Cuff Tear

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Orthopedics Commons