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Phys Sportsmed. 2012 May;40(2):73-86. doi: 10.3810/psm.2012.05.1967.

Evaluation and treatment of rotator cuff tears.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.


Rotator cuff injuries are common problems and a frequent reason for patients to present to primary care physicians. These injuries are seen more frequently now with the aging population. These muscles allow for movement of the arm in overhead activities and controlled movements through space. A thorough physical examination can lead to the diagnosis of rotator cuff pathology. Radiographic imaging may offer some insight into the underlying pathology, and magnetic resonance imaging provides for excellent visualization of the rotator cuff. Many rotator cuff tears, especially partial tears, will symptomatically improve with conservative management. Surgical treatment may offer improved pain relief and function in those patients for whom nonoperative care is insufficient. In cases in which rotator cuff repair is not possible, the reverse total shoulder arthroplasty is a possibility. New technologies are also under investigation that allow for biological augmentation of rotator cuff tears.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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