Subacromial Balloon Spacer for Irreparable Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment Shows Improved Pain and Strength at 5-Year Follow-Up

Ehud Atoun, Maria Oulianski, Ira Bachar-Avnieli, Alexander Artamonov, Ron Gilat, Omri Lubovsky, Philip J. Rosinsky

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Scopus citations


    Purpose: To report on minimum 5-year outcomes following subacromial balloon spacer implantation (SBSI), in terms of survivorship, pain reduction, functional outcomes, complications, and reoperations. Methods: Data were prospectively collected and retrospectively analyzed for consecutive patients undergoing SBSI between April 1, 2012, and June 30, 2016. Patients completed preoperative and postoperative follow-up for minimum 5 years on the following patient-reported outcomes (PROs): Constant-Murley Score (CMS), visual analog scale for pain (VAS), strength, and patient satisfaction. Reoperations and complications were recorded. Minimal detectable change (MDC) was calculated and the proportion of patients achieving MDC for CMS and VAS were calculated. Results: During the study period, SBSI was performed in 36 patients. Three patients were deceased within 5 years. Of the remaining 33 patients, follow-up was available on 29 patients (80.6%). Mean age at the time of operation was 72.7 ± 4.5 years, and 69% of the patients were males. Mean follow-up time was 72.5 months. Significant improvements from preoperative to last follow-up were demonstrated in CMS (36.08 vs. 63.88; P < .001), VAS (6.72 vs. 1.68; P < .001), and strength (3.8 vs 5.87 kg; P < .001). These improvements were demonstrated at 3 weeks, 6 months, 12 months, 24 months, and 60 months. Mean patient satisfaction at last follow-up was 8.72. The MDC for both CMS and VAS was achieved by 75.9% (22/29) of patients. Four patients underwent conversion to a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA). Complications included one patient with balloon dislocation and one patient with a secondary infection due to urinary tract infection. Conclusions: Pain reduction and functional improvements are sustained at minimum 5 years after SBSI in patients with irreparable rotator cuff tears. The 5-year conversion rate to an RTSA was 13.79%. Level of Evidence: Level IV, retrospective case-series.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)543-550
    Number of pages8
    JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 1 Feb 2024

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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