Sonographic evaluation of the post-operative rotator cuff: Does tendon thickness matter?


The goal of this work is to determine whether sonographic measures of tendon thickness correlate with post-operative functional parameters or re-tear rates. 53 consecutive patients with supraspinatus tears on MRI were examined by an orthopedic surgeon to determine: pre-and post-operative patient pain (via Constant-Murley scale), night time pain, maximum force production by the affected arm (in pounds), and range of motion deficits. Post-operative ultrasound at 3 and 12 months following surgery was performed to evaluate for recurrent tear and to measure tendon thickness. Post-operative tendon thickness was inversely related to patient age (r = -0.24; p < 0.05). Statistically significantly decreased thickness was observed with Snyder type C lesions (4.2 mm versus 5.1 mm for type A and B; p < 0.05). Tendon thickness decreased post-operatively from 3 to 12 months (r = -0.31; p < 0.05). Only two recurrent tears occurred, preventing statistical assessment of the prognostic value of tendon thickness. Post-operative tendon thickness did not successfully predict post-operative functional outcomes or pain levels (p > 0.05). Normal post-operative tendon thickness of the rotator cuff decreases from 3 to 12 months following surgery. Thickness is reduced in patients with more severe tears and in older patients but does not correlate with post-operative patient pain or functional outcomes.

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Lasbleiz, J. , Benkalfate, T. , N. Morelli, J. and Jan, J. (2013) Sonographic evaluation of the post-operative rotator cuff: Does tendon thickness matter?. Open Journal of Clinical Diagnostics, 3, 78-84. doi: 10.4236/ojcd.2013.33015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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