Korean J Sports Med.  2019 Dec;37(4):140-148. 10.5763/kjsm.2019.37.4.140.

Traumatic Posterior Rotator Cuff Tear in the Pre-existing Chronic Supraspinatus Tendon Tear

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Good Samsun Hospital, Busan, Korea. hljo88@hanmail.net


This study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic characteristics and clinical results after surgical repair of traumatic superimposed posterior rotator cuff tear in the setting of preexisting retracted supraspinatus tendon tear.
A total of 20 patients (mean age, 62.1 years) were included and all patients had significant traumatic events mean 3.7 weeks prior to the surgery. Preoperative acromiohumeral distance (AHD, mean 3.2 mm) and arthritis change were analyzed on plain radiograph and magnetic resonance imaging was evaluated for the nature and extent of torn tendon, and fatty degeneration (FD) of all cuff muscles to validate if the tears were traumatic or chronic.
Complete repairs were achieved in 15 patients and partial repair including posterior cuff in five. Functional and radiographic results were statistically evaluated and repair integrities were assessed with ultrasound at average 17.3 months. Overall functional outcome scores were significantly improved and 17 patients (85%) were satisfied with their symptoms. AHD was significantly recovered (mean, 6.7 mm), but two patients showed progression of arthritic change. Retears after the complete repair were three patients (20%), who showed poor outcome, with advanced preoperative FD of posterior cuff muscles. Five patients with partial repair of posterior cuff revealed improved functional score with no sign of retear of posterior cuff on ultrasound.
Early recognition of traumatic superimposed posterior cuff tears and surgical repair can reliably restore shoulder function, and partial repair of posterior cuff also can be expected favorable outcomes in supraspinatus tear with advanced FD.


Fatty degeneration; Partial repair; Rotator cuff tear; Traumatic; Ultrasound
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