Systematic review and network meta-analysis of subscapularis management techniques in anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty

Michael A. Del Core, Holt S. Cutler, Junho Ahn, Michael Khazzam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Controversy exists regarding the optimal subscapularis management technique in patients undergoing anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty. The purpose of this study was to compare clinical, radiographic, and functional outcomes between subscapularis tenotomy (ST), lesser tuberosity osteotomy (LTO), and subscapularis peel (SP) techniques. Methods: We performed a level III systematic review and network meta-analysis comparing ST, LTO, and SP in patients undergoing anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty. Our primary collection endpoints included range of motion, subscapularis function, subscapularis healing, functional patient-reported outcomes, complications, and revision surgery. Data were pooled and network meta-analysis was performed owing to the comparison of 3 groups. Results: Eight studies met our inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. There was no difference in sex or primary diagnosis between the 3 cohorts. No significant difference was found in postoperative external rotation or forward flexion between the groups. Meta-analysis found the SP cohort to have significantly greater internal rotation strength than the ST cohort. The belly-press test results were negative most commonly in the LTO group, and there was a significant difference compared with the ST or SP group (P < .0001). The weighted-mean healing rate for the LTO site was 98.9% on radiographic imaging. There was a significantly higher ultrasound healing rate in the LTO cohort than in the ST and SP cohorts. All groups had good postoperative patient-reported outcome scores (average American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score range, 78.6-87) and a relatively low rate of complications (3%). Conclusion: This network meta-analysis demonstrates that the LTO group has superior healing and postoperative subscapularis-specific physical examination test results compared with the ST and SP groups. However, no difference in postoperative range of motion was found between the groups, and all techniques demonstrated good functional patient-reported outcomes, with a low rate of postoperative complications. These findings provide evidence-based support that ST, SP, and LTO all demonstrate similar outcomes; therefore, selection should be based on surgeon experience and comfort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1714-1724
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty
  • Level III
  • Meta-analysis
  • Treatment Study
  • lesser tuberosity osteotomy
  • meta-analysis
  • subscapularis peel
  • subscapularis tenotomy
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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