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BACKGROUND: Shoulder pain is a common problem in the general population and is responsible for prolonged periods of disability, loss of productivity, absence from work and inability to carry out household activities. Rotator cuff problems account for up to 70% of shoulder pain problems and are the third most prevalent musculoskeletal disorder after those occurring in the lower back and neck. Rotator cuff surgery has high failure rates (25-50% within 12 months), and as a result, there is a pressing need to improve the outcome of rotator cuff surgery. Patch augmented surgery for rotator cuff repairs has recently been developed and is increasingly being used within the UK National Health Service. Patch augmented surgery could lead to a dramatic improvement in patient and surgical outcomes, but its clinical and cost effectiveness needs rigorous evaluation. The existing evidence on the use of patches may be at risk of bias as currently only a small number of single-centre comparative studies appear to have been carried out. Additionally, it is unclear for which patches a clinical study (comparative and non-comparative) has been conducted. This paper outlines the protocol for a systematic review intended to summarise the best available clinical evidence and will indicate what further research is required. METHODS: Electronic databases (Medline, Embase and Cochrane) will be systematically searched between April 2006 and the present day for relevant publications using a specified search strategy, which can be adapted for the use in multiple electronic databases, and inclusion criteria. Screening of both titles and abstracts will be done by two independent reviewers with any discrepancies resolved by a third independent reviewer. Data extraction will include information regarding the type of participants, type of intervention and outcomes including but not limited to shoulder-specific function and pain scores, patch-related adverse events and type of study. The results will be summarised in a narrative review where qualitative analysis is not possible. DISCUSSION: This review aims to collate the current evidence base regarding the use of patches to augment rotator cuff repair. The results of this review will help to develop, using consensus methods, the design of a definitive randomised trial assessing the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a patch to augment surgical repair of the rotator cuff that is both acceptable to stakeholders and is feasible. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: CRD42017057908.

Original publication




Journal article


Syst Rev

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Acellular dermal matrix, Patch, Rotator cuff tear, Shoulder surgery, Surgical mesh, Systematic review, Tendon injury, Tissue scaffold, Feasibility Studies, Humans, Rotator Cuff, Shoulder Injuries, Surgical Mesh, Tendon Injuries, Tissue Scaffolds, Treatment Outcome