Superior Capsule Reconstruction Surgery in Bethesda, MD

shoulder superior capsule

If you’ve gone through rotator cuff repair surgery and the rotator cuff tore again, or you’ve been told that your rotator cuff tear is irreparable, you may need to consider superior capsular reconstruction (SCR). At OrthoBethesda, we have a highly skilled team of orthopedic surgeons who provide services to residents of Bethesda, MD. Our team is trained to use the most effective tools to help patients get relief from shoulder pain and regain the full functioning and strength of their arm.

What Is a Superior Capsule Reconstruction?

SCR is a surgical procedure in which a graft is secured to the glenoid — shoulder socket — to reconstruct the superior capsule and restore joint function with better glenohumeral stability. The main treatment goals are to:

  • Provide lasting pain relief
  • Restore shoulder function, strength, and range-of-motion
  • Prevent development complications from delayed treatment

What Is the Superior Capsule?

The superior capsule consists of thin, interwoven collagen fibrils that extend from the labrum in the glenoid to the humerus. It has a thickness of 4-9 millimeters, and it’s attached to 61% of the shoulder’s greater tuberosity. The superior capsule helps make the glenohumeral joint more stable.

How Effective Is This Surgical Procedure?

In a study of 23 people who went through SCR surgery with at least two years of follow up, over 80% of the patients had significant shoulder stability without any muscle atrophy. Their ASES scores rose from 23.5% to 92.9%.

How Is Superior Capsule Reconstruction Performed?

This surgical procedure is usually performed using an arthroscopic technique in the following steps:

  • The patient sits in a beach-chair position and receives general anesthesia
  • Carrying out glenohumeral diagnostic arthroscopy with a standard 30-degree arthroscope
  • Measuring the dimensions of the rotator cuff
  • Preparing the superior glenoid and greater tuberosity
  • Removing a soft tissue from the superior glenoid and greater tuberosity with a shaver
  • Placing anchors on the glenoid and rotator cuff
  • Preparing a dermal patch to fit the shape of the rotator cuff defect and attaching suture strands to it
  • Securing the graft to the superior glenoid

What Is the Standard SCR Surgery Recovery Time?

Typically, patients are kept immobile for six weeks using an abduction pillow. Passive motion begins at four weeks, and active motion may start after six weeks. Exercises to strengthen the shoulder and arm may begin after eight weeks. Pain relief begins quite early, and the full functionality of the shoulder and arm usually returns 12 weeks after the operation.

Further Reading

Best Physical Therapy Methods for Treating Shoulder Pain and Injuries

The Ultimate Guide For Shoulder Recovery Surgery


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Contact OrthoBethesda to Determine If You Need Superior Capsule Reconstruction

If you have had a rotator cuff tear before and you need revision surgery, contact OrthoBethesda today. We have a team of specially trained surgeons and physical therapists who will examine you and tell you whether you could benefit from a superior capsule reconstruction procedure. Call us at (301) 530-1010 today to book an appointment with any of our orthopedic surgeons. We’re ready to help you relieve shoulder pain and return to full functionality.