Simultaneous Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair and Glenoid Microfracture in Active-Duty Military Patients Younger Than 50 Years: Outcomes at Midterm Follow-up

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine








glenoid osteochondral defect; microfracture; military; rotator cuff repair


BACKGROUND: While concomitant full-thickness rotator cuff tears and glenoid osteochondral defects are relatively uncommon in younger patients, military patients represent a unique opportunity to study this challenging injury pattern. PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: To compare the outcomes of young, active-duty military patients who underwent isolated arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (ARCR) with those who underwent ARCR plus concurrent glenoid microfracture (ARCR+Mfx). It was hypothesized that ARCR+Mfx would produce significant improvements in patient-reported outcome measures. STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of consecutive active-duty military patients from a single base who underwent ARCR for full-thickness rotator cuff tears between January 2012 and December 2020. All patients were <50 years and had minimum 2-year follow-up data. Patients who underwent ARCR+Mfx were compared with those who underwent isolated ARCR based on the visual analog scale (VAS) for pain, Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation (SANE), American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) shoulder score, and range of motion. RESULTS: A total of 88 patients met the inclusion criteria for this study: 28 underwent ARCR+Mfx and 60 underwent isolated ARCR. The mean final follow-up was 74.11 ± 33.57 months for the ARCR+Mfx group and 72.87 ± 11.46 months for the ARCR group ( = .80). There were no differences in baseline patient characteristics or preoperative outcome scores between groups. Postoperatively, both groups experienced statistically significant improvements in all outcome scores ( < .0001 for all). However, the ARCR+Mfx group had significantly worse VAS pain (1.89 ± 2.22 vs 1.03 ± 1.70; = .05), SANE (85.46 ± 12.99 vs 91.93 ± 12.26; = .03), and ASES (86.25 ± 14.14 vs 92.85 ± 12.57; = .03) scores. At the final follow-up, 20 (71.43%) patients in the ARCR+Mfx group and 53 (88.33%) patients in the ARCR group were able to remain on unrestricted active-duty military service ( = .05). CONCLUSION: Concomitant ARCR+Mfx led to statistically and clinically significant improvements in patient-reported outcome measures at the midterm follow-up. However, patients who underwent ARCR+Mfx had significantly worse outcomes and were less likely to return to active-duty military service than those who underwent isolated ARCR. The study findings suggest that ARCR+Mfx may be a reasonable option for young, active patients who are not candidates for arthroplasty.


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