AJSM March 2018 Podcast: Location of Rotator Cuff Tear Initiation: A Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of 191 Shoulders

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Degenerative rotator cuff tears (RCTs) are generally thought to originate at the anterior margin of the supraspinatus tendon. However, a recent ultrasonography study suggested that they might originate more posteriorly than originally thought, perhaps even from the isolated infraspinatus (ISP) tendon, and propagate toward the anterior supraspinatus.

The mean width of all RCTs was 11.9 ± 4.1 mm, and the mean length was 11.1 ± 5.0 mm. Histograms showed the most common location of origin to be 9 to 10 mm posterior to the biceps tendon. The histograms of groups A and B showed similar tear location distributions, indicating that the region approximately 10 mm posterior to the biceps tendon is the most common site of tear initiation. These results demonstrate that degenerative RCTs most commonly originate from approximately 9 to 10 mm posterior to the biceps tendon.

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