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J Orthop Res. 2011 Jul;29(7):1028-33. doi: 10.1002/jor.21361. Epub 2011 Feb 9.

Restoration of anterior-posterior rotator cuff force balance improves shoulder function in a rat model of chronic massive tears.

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1
McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, 424 Stemmler Hall, 36th and Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6081, USA.

Abstract

The rotator cuff musculature imparts dynamic stability to the glenohumeral joint. In particular, the balance between the subscapularis anteriorly and the infraspinatus posteriorly, often referred to as the rotator cuff "force couple," is critical for concavity compression and concentric rotation of the humeral head. Restoration of this anterior-posterior force balance after chronic, massive rotator cuff tears may allow for deltoid compensation, but no in vivo studies have quantitatively demonstrated an improvement in shoulder function. Our goal was to determine if restoring this balance of forces improves shoulder function after two-tendon rotator cuff tears in a rat model. Forty-eight rats underwent detachment of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus. After four weeks, rats were randomly assigned to three groups: no repair, infraspinatus repair, and two-tendon repair. Quantitative ambulatory measures including medial/lateral forces, braking, propulsion, and step width were significantly different between the infraspinatus and no repair group and similar between the infraspinatus and two-tendon repair groups at almost all time points. These results suggest that repairing the infraspinatus back to its insertion site without repair of the supraspinatus can improve shoulder function to a level similar to repairing both the infraspinatus and supraspinatus tendons. Clinically, a partial repair of the posterior cuff after a two-tendon tear may be sufficient to restore adequate function. An in vivo model system for two-tendon repair of massive rotator cuff tears is presented.

PMID:
21308755
PMCID:
PMC3094494
DOI:
10.1002/jor.21361
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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