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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-66147

Meyer, D C; Farshad, Mazda; Amacker, Nadja A; Gerber, Christian; Wieser, Karl (2012). Quantitative analysis of muscle and tendon retraction in chronic rotator cuff tears. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 40(3):606-610.

Published Version (English)
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BACKGROUND: Musculotendinous retraction is a limiting factor for repair of long-standing rotator cuff tears. However, it is currently unknown to what extent the muscle and tendon contribute to the degree of total retraction. Further understanding of this may possibly influence the strategy of musculotendinous reconstruction.
PURPOSE: To analyze the contribution of muscle and tendon to the process of myotendinous retraction.
STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.
METHODS: Magnetic resonance imaging of 130 shoulders with intact (n = 20) or completely torn supraspinatus tendons was analyzed. Fatty infiltration of the supraspinatus muscle was graded according to Goutallier stages. The degree of retraction of the tendon stump and of the musculotendinous junction was assessed.
RESULTS: There were 30 shoulders without evidence of supraspinatus fatty infiltration, 25 with stage 1, 23 with stage 2, 25 with stage 3, and 15 with stage 4 changes. The corresponding tear sizes (distance of tendon end from greater tuberosity) were 4, 21, 27, 37, and 41 mm; the distance of the myotendinous junction from the greater tuberosity was 22, 33, 39, 48, and 48 mm; and the length of the tendons (distance of tendon end to myotendinous junction) was 19, 13, 12, 11, and 8 mm, respectively. In Goutallier stage 3 and above, and in case of a positive tangent sign, the musculotendinous junction was, in 90% of the cases, retracted to or beyond the glenoid.
CONCLUSION: Musculotendinous retraction in chronic rotator cuff tears results mainly from shortening of the muscle fibers but in advanced stages results also from shortening of the tendon tissue itself. The present data demonstrate, for the first time, that the residual tendon stump in a tendon tear does not have the length of the original tendon and is further shortened over time. Therefore, direct anatomic tendon reinsertion will result in lengthening of the supraspinatus muscle greater than what it would have been before the tear.


21 citations in Web of Science®
25 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Date:March 2012
Deposited On:08 Nov 2012 11:49
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:03
Publisher:Sage Publications
Publisher DOI:10.1177/0363546511429778
PubMed ID:22174340

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