Clin Orthop Surg.  2021 Mar;13(1):88-96. 10.4055/cios20002.

Correlation between Severity of Synovitis and Clinical Features in Rotator Cuff Tears

  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea
  • 2Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hanyang University Guri Hospital, Guri, Korea


Rotator cuff tears can be asymptomatic in some cases; however, even when the tear size is small, clinical symptoms can be very severe. This suggests that symptoms of rotator cuff tears are related to factors other than the size. Although synovitis has been cited as one of the factors, there is no grading system for synovitis in rotator cuff tears. Moreover, there are few studies that evaluated the relationship between synovitis and clinical features in patients with rotator cuff tears.
Patients with medium-sized rotator cuff tears, who were scheduled for arthroscopic repair, were recruited for this study. The glenohumeral joint was divided into 4 quarters. Then, vascularity and hypertrophy of the joint were graded in each quarter using a modified scoring system. Clinical assessment was performed preoperatively and at 3 months and 6 months after surgery. Finally, correlation between the severity of synovitis and clinical features was analyzed.
The intraobserver correlation coefficient was 0.815 to 0.918 and the interobserver correlation coefficient was 0.779 to 0.992 for the single measurement. Vascularity was significantly correlated with the range of motion, strength, and constant score within 6 months after surgery. Hypertrophy was correlated with the range of motion within 6 months after surgery.
Synovitis in the shoulder with rotator cuff tears can be graded by using our modified scoring system. The severity of synovitis was closely related to the clinical features after surgery. Therefore, when treating patients with rotator cuff tears, treatment of synovitis should also be considered.


Shoulder; Synovitis; Rotator cuff tear; Grading
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