Orthopedics Book


Rotator Cuff Rupture

Aka: Rotator Cuff Rupture, Rotator Cuff Tear
  1. See Also
    1. Rotator Cuff Injury
  2. Epidemiology
    1. Rarely occurs under age 40 years
      1. Exception: Athletes or with significant injury such as Shoulder Dislocation or MVA
  3. Pathophysiology
    1. Typically results from continued deterioration or degeneration
      1. Rotator Cuff Tear typically occurs with minor Trauma in Older Patients
    2. Partial or complete rupture
      1. Full thickness tears account for 5-40% of Rotator Cuff Tears
    3. Rotator Cuff Rupture associated with Shoulder Dislocation
      1. Occurs in 50% of dislocations over age 50 years
  4. Mechanism
    1. Fall on Outstretched Hand
    2. Lifting heavy object
    3. Shoulder Dislocation
    4. Motor Vehicle Accident (or other high mechanism injury)
  5. Symptoms
    1. Usually no obvious Trauma or injury
    2. Pain progressively worse
    3. Pain referred down deltoid Muscle
    4. Unable to abduct or flex Shoulder
    5. Pain often worse with overhead activity or with sleep
  6. Signs
    1. Partial rupture appears similar as chronic Tendonitis
    2. Shoulder Range of Motion may be completely intact
    3. Shoulder Weakness
      1. Abduction weakness more common (Supraspinatus tear)
      2. Active abduction
        1. Painful arc over 50 degrees
      3. Passive abduction
        1. Results in painful catch at 50 to 100 degrees
      4. Forward flexion weakness indicates subscapularis tear
    4. Tenderness over Rotator Cuff Tear site
    5. Defect palpated through deltoid in complete cuff tear
    6. Atrophy of cuff Muscles
    7. Drop Arm Test positive
      1. Test Specificity: 98%
      2. Test Sensitivity: 10%
    8. Consider Local Lidocaine injection diagnostically
      1. Persistent difficult abduction suggests cuff tear
    9. Acute hemarthrosis and prominent Ecchymosis down arm
      1. Indicative of long standing cuff tear and Arthropathy
    10. Chronic Sub-deltoid swelling indicates large cuff tear
      1. Synovial Fluid escaped from glenohumeral joint
  7. Diagnosis
    1. See Shoulder Impingement Signs
  8. Imaging
    1. Shoulder XRay
      1. Calcifications at Humerus tuberosity
      2. Degenerative Arthritis
        1. Acromioclavicular joints
        2. Glenohumeral joints
      3. Subacromial space narrowed on Shoulder PA View (high riding humeral head)
        1. Intact rotator cuff depresses the humeral head
        2. Complete Rotator Cuff Tear allows the humeral head to rise toward the acromion
      4. Cortical irregularity at supraspinatus insertion at greater tuberosity
        1. Present in 75% of Rotator Cuff Tears (esp. age >40 years old)
        2. No cortical irregularity at supraspinatus suggests no tear (misses 4% of tears)
        3. Jacobson (2004) Radiology 230:234-42 [PubMed]
    2. Shoulder MRI
      1. Replaces arthrography
      2. Identifies smaller partial thickness tears as well as other pathology (e.g. Labral Tears)
      3. Best for younger patients (under age 40 years old)
    3. Shoulder Ultrasound
      1. Safe and noninvasive
      2. Accurate in full thickness, large and moderate tears (esp. in patients over age 40 old)
    4. Shoulder Arthrography (MRI is preferred)
      1. Differentiates full from incomplete Rotator Cuff Tear
      2. Invasive test
      3. Perform only if considering surgery
  9. Differential Diagnosis
    1. Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
    2. Rotator Cuff Calcification
  10. Management: Referral Indications for Surgery (earlier is better)
    1. Young active patient with full thickness tear (best outcome with earlier intervention)
    2. Competitive athletes
    3. Severe functional deficit
  11. Management: Algorithm
    1. Initial Evaluation: Painful cuff range of motion
      1. Start with RICE-M for first 3 days
      2. Switch to moist heat after 2-3 days
        1. Apply for 1 hour
        2. Apply 2-3 times per day
      3. Relative Rest
        1. Avoid complete rest especially in older patients
        2. Risk of Frozen Shoulder
      4. Gentle Shoulder Range of Motion Exercises
        1. Prevents Frozen Shoulder
      5. NSAIDs
      6. Avoid overhead Shoulder activities or overuse
      7. Consider Shoulder XRay if Fracture suspected
    2. Re-evaluation in 2 weeks: Lack of improvement
      1. Early orthopedic referral if criteria above met
      2. Change NSAIDs
      3. Continue Shoulder Range of Motion Exercises
      4. Start Shoulder Strengthening Exercises
    3. Re-evaluation in 2 weeks: Lack of improvement
      1. Sub-acromial space Corticosteroid Injection
        1. Risk of weakening tendons
      2. Physical Therapy with Phonophoresis
    4. Re-evaluation in 2 weeks: Lack of improvement
      1. Shoulder MRI
      2. Orthopedics Consultation
  12. Complications
    1. Rotator Cuff Tear progression
      1. Rotator cuff atrophy
      2. Full thickness tear progression (esp. older patients)
  13. References
    1. Greene in Wirth (2001) Musculoskeletal Care, p.141-3
    2. Krishman in DeLee (2003) Sports Medicine, p. 1065-92
    3. Monica (2016) Am Fam Physician 94(2): 119-27 [PubMed]

Full thickness rotator cuff tear (C0410017)

Concepts Injury or Poisoning (T037)
ICD9 727.61
SnomedCT 202959004, 27434004, 202843000
English Rotator cuff complete rupture, Full thickn rotator cuff tear, Rotator cuff rupture, full thickness rotator cuff tear, cuff rotator full thickness tear, Complete rupture of rotator cuff (disorder), Rotator cuff complete rupture (disorder), Full thickness rotator cuff tear (disorder), Complete rupture of rotator cuff, Full thickness rotator cuff tear
Dutch totale rotator cuff ruptuur
French Rupture complète de la coiffe du rotateur
German kompletter Abriss der Rotatorenmanschette
Italian Rottura atraumatica completa della cuffia dei rotatori
Portuguese Ruptura completa da coifa dos rotadores
Japanese 肩回旋筋腱板完全断裂, カタカイセンキンケンバンカンゼンダンレツ, ケンカイセンキンケンバンカンゼンダンレツ
Czech Kompletní ruptura rotátorové manžety
Spanish desgarro de espesor total del manguito rotador, desgarro de espesor total del manguito rotador (trastorno), desgarro de espesor total del manguito de los rotadores, desgarro de espesor total del manguito de los rotadores (trastorno), Rotura completa del manguito de los rotadores, ruptura total del manguito de los rotadores, ruptura completa del manguito de los rotadores (trastorno), ruptura total del manguito de los rotadores (trastorno), ruptura completa del manguito de los rotadores, ruptura total del manguito de los músculos rotadores
Hungarian Rotator mandzsetta teljes szakadása
Derived from the NIH UMLS (Unified Medical Language System)

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