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J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2006 Apr;88(4):800-5.

Association of a large lateral extension of the acromion with rotator cuff tears.

Author information

1
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Zurich, Balgrist, Switzerland. richard.nyffeler@bluewin.ch

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Factors predisposing to tearing of the rotator cuff are poorly understood. We have observed that the acromion of patients with a rotator cuff tear very often appears large on anteroposterior radiographs or during surgery. The purpose of this study was to quantify the lateral extension of the acromion in patients with a full-thickness rotator cuff tear and in patients with an intact rotator cuff.

METHODS:

The lateral extension of the acromion was assessed on true anteroposterior radiographs made with the arm in neutral rotation. The distance from the glenoid plane to the lateral border of the acromion was divided by the distance from the glenoid plane to the lateral aspect of the humeral head to calculate the acromion index. This index was determined in a group of 102 patients (average age, 65.0 years) with a proven full-thickness rotator cuff tear, in an age and gender-matched group of forty-seven patients (average age, 63.7 years) with osteoarthritis of the shoulder and an intact rotator cuff, and in an age and gender-matched control group of seventy volunteers (average age, 64.4 years) with an intact rotator cuff as demonstrated by ultrasonography.

RESULTS:

The average acromion index (and standard deviation) was 0.73 +/- 0.06 in the shoulders with a full-thickness tear, 0.60 +/- 0.08 in those with osteoarthritis and an intact rotator cuff, and 0.64 +/- 0.06 in the asymptomatic, normal shoulders with an intact rotator cuff. The difference between the index in the shoulders with a full-thickness supraspinatus tear and the index in those with an intact rotator cuff was highly significant (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS:

A large lateral extension of the acromion appears to be associated with full-thickness tearing of the rotator cuff.

PMID:
16595470
DOI:
10.2106/JBJS.D.03042
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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