The purpose of this systematic review is to characterize the complications associated with superior capsule reconstruction (SCR) for the treatment of functionally irreparable rotator cuff tears (FIRCTs).

This systematic review was completed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Two independent reviewers completed a search of PubMed, Embase, and Medline databases. Studies were deemed eligible for inclusion if they reported postoperative outcomes of arthroscopic SCR for FIRCTs and considered at least 1 postoperative complication. Statistical heterogeneity was quantified via the I2 statistic. Due to marked heterogeneity, pooled proportions were not reported. All complications and patient-reported outcomes were described qualitatively.

Fourteen studies met the inclusion/exclusion criteria. The overall complication rate post-SCR ranged from 5.0% to 70.0% (I2 = 84.9%). Image-verified graft retear ranged from 8% to 70%, I2 = 79.4%), with higher rates reported when SCR was performed using allograft (19%-70%, I2 76.6%) compared to autograft (8%-29%, I2 = 66.1%). Reoperation (0%-36%, I2 = 73.4%), revision surgeries (0%-21%, I2 = 81.2%), medical complications (0%-5%, I2 = 0.0%), and infections (0%-5%, I2 = 0.0%) were also calculated.

SCR carries a distinct complication profile when used for the treatment of FIRCTs. The overall rate of complications ranged from 5.0% to 70.0%. The most common complication is graft retear with higher ranges in allografts (19%-70%) compared to autografts (8%-29%). The majority of studies reported at least 1 reoperation (range, 0%-36%), most commonly for revision to reverse shoulder arthroplasty.

Level IV, systematic review of Level IV or better investigations.

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