Posterior Displacement of Supraspinatus Central Tendon Observed on Magnetic Resonance Imaging: A Useful Preoperative Indicator of Rotator Cuff Tear Characteristics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose To characterize the orientation of the normal supraspinatus central tendon and describe the displacement patterns of the central tendon in rotator cuff tears using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based method. Methods We performed a retrospective MRI and chart review of 183 patients with a rotator cuff tear (cuff tear group), 52 with a labral tear but no rotator cuff tear (labral tear group), and 74 with a normal shoulder (normal group). The orientation of the supraspinatus central tendon relative to the bicipital groove was evaluated based on axial MRI and was numerically represented by the shortest distance from the lateral extension line of the central tendon to the bicipital groove. Tear size, fatty degeneration, and involvement of the anterior supraspinatus were evaluated to identify the factors associated with orientation changes. Results The mean distance from the bicipital groove to the central tendon line was 0.7 mm and 1.3 mm in the normal group and labral tear group, respectively. Full-thickness cuff tears involving the anterior supraspinatus showed a significantly greater distance (17.7 mm) than those sparing the anterior supraspinatus (4.9 mm, P =.001). Fatty degeneration of the supraspinatus was significantly correlated with the distance (P =.006). Disruption of the anterior supraspinatus and fatty degeneration of the supraspinatus were independent predictors of posterior displacement. Conclusions The supraspinatus central tendon has a constant orientation toward the bicipital groove in normal shoulders, and the central tendon is frequently displaced posteriorly in full-thickness rotator cuff tears involving the anterior leading edge of the supraspinatus. The degree of posterior displacement is proportional to tear size and severity of fatty degeneration of the supraspinatus muscle. A simple and quick assessment of the central tendon orientation on preoperative MRI can be a useful indicator of tear characteristics, potentially providing insight into the intraoperative repair strategy. Level of Evidence Level IV, diagnostic case-control study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2089-2098
Number of pages10
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Volume31
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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