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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2003 Oct;(415):111-20.

Pathologic evidence of degeneration as a primary cause of rotator cuff tear.

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1
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Nobuhara Hospital and the Institute of Biomechanics, Hyogo Japan. n720@silver.ocn.ne.jp

Abstract

Histopathologic, histochemical, and morphometric studies were done on 80 medial stumps of torn rotator cuff tendons to clarify the cause of tears. A high prevalence and diffuse distribution of degenerative changes were observed in the rotator cuff tendons including thinning and disorientation of collagen fibers, myxoid degeneration, hyaline degeneration, chondroid metaplasia, calcification, vascularproliferation, and fatty infiltration. No distinct inflammatory reaction was observed. Thinning and disorientation of collagen fibers, myxoid degeneration, and hyaline degeneration were seen in all cases. All changes except vascular proliferation and fatty infiltration were more pronounced in the middle to deep layers of the tendons than in the superficial layer. The collagen fibers were disoriented in the deep layer of the tendons, shown by microscopic image analysis. The frequency and distribution of thinning and disorientation of collagen fibers, myxoid degeneration, and hyaline degeneration suggest that these are early degenerative processes. Chondroid metaplasia and calcification may be chronic pathologic changes that occur after tearing regardless of the type of tear. Preexisting degenerative change in the middle and deep layers of the tendon in association with microtrauma seems to be the main cause of rotator cuff tears.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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