Sub-acromial Balloon Spacer – A True Salvage Procedure an Irreparable Rotator Cuff Tear of the Shoulder?

Dan Prat 1,2 Guy Vogel 1,2
1Department of orthopaedic surgery, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel
2Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Introduction: Irreparable rotator cuff tear present a complicated challenge to the orthopaedic surgeon. Different solutions have been offered for its treatment with varying success. One of the innovative treatment options was the surgical technique of the insertion of a sub-acromial balloon spacer (InSpace; OrthoSpace, Kfar Saba, Israel).

Methods: Our study group represents our 5 years` experience with the use of the sub-acromial balloon spacer. We treated 25 patients with irreparable rotator cuff tears, with an average age of 69.4, 48% of which were males, 64% right handed, with an average follow-up of 10.1 months.

Results: Three patients (12%) suffered from early complications, and 4 patients (16%) suffered from late complications. The post-operative average DASH score was 39.9. The average pre-operative UCLA score was 11.9 and improved to 13.3. Fifty-Eight percent of patients considered themselves satisfied with the clinical outcome of the procedure. None of the post-operative radiographs showed an improvement regarding the proximal migration of the humeral head.

Conclusion: Our results show mediocre potential for improvement in patients with irreparable rotator cuff tear treated with a sub-acromial balloon spacer.