The Incidence of Early Metallic Suture Anchor Pullout After Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair
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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify the incidence of metallic suture anchor pullout after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and determine the impact of tear size on the risk of pullout. METHODS: A retrospective review of 269 patients (550 metallic suture anchors) who underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair between January 2006 and January 2009 was conducted. Inclusion criteria included patients aged 18 years or older, a minimum of 6 weeks' radiographic follow-up, and the use of 1 or more metallic suture anchors for partial or complete rotator cuff repair. The mean age of the cohort at the time of surgery was 55 years (range, 29 to 86 years), and there were 189 men and 80 women. RESULTS: Early anchor pullout occurred in 6 patients (9 anchors). The overall incidence of early metallic suture anchor pullout in this cohort was 2.4% (95% confidence interval, 0.5% to 4.3%). The incidence in rotator cuff tears less than or equal to 3 cm was 0.5%, and the incidence in tears greater than 3 cm was 11%. Patients undergoing arthroscopic rotator cuff repair of a tear greater than 3 cm in size were at a significantly higher risk of having early metallic suture anchor pullout than patients undergoing repair of a smaller tear (relative risk, 22; P = .001). Among the 61 patients undergoing arthroscopic subscapularis repair, no suture anchor failures were observed at the lesser tuberosity. Of the 9 anchors that failed, 8 (89%) pulled out of the posterior aspect of the greater tuberosity. CONCLUSIONS: There is a minimal risk of suture anchor pullout in small- to medium-sized tears; however, this risk increases with larger tear sizes. We recommend routine radiographic follow-up after use of metallic anchors to ensure identification of early failure by anchor pullout. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, prognostic case series.
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