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EFORT Open Rev. 2017 Mar 13;1(12):420-430. doi: 10.1302/2058-5241.1.160005. eCollection 2016 Dec.

Classification of full-thickness rotator cuff lesions: a review.

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La Tour Hospital; University of Geneva; Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland.
The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group; University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas, USA.
Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland.
Mermoz Hospital, Lyon, France.
Centre Hospitalier Privé Saint-Grégoire, Saint- Grégoire, France.
St Francis Memorial Hospital, San Francisco, USA.
Southern Oregon Orthopedics, Medford, Oregon, USA.


Rotator cuff lesions (RCL) have considerable variability in location, tear pattern, functional impairment, and repairability.Historical classifications for differentiating these lesions have been based upon factors such as the size and shape of the tear, and the degree of atrophy and fatty infiltration. Additional recent descriptions include bipolar rotator cuff insufficiency, 'Fosbury flop tears', and musculotendinous lesions.Recommended treatment is based on the location of the lesion, patient factors and associated pathology, and often includes personal experience and data from case series. Development of a more comprehensive classification which integrates historical and newer descriptions of RCLs may help to guide treatment further. Cite this article: Lädermann A, Burkhart SS, Hoffmeyer P, et al. Classification of full thickness rotator cuff lesions: a review. EFORT Open Rev 2016;1:420-430. DOI: 10.1302/2058-5241.1.160005.


classification; massive rotator cuff tear; repair; repairable and non-repairable; rotator cuff lesion; shoulder imaging; tear pattern

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest: One or more of the authors has declared the following potential conflict of interest or source of funding: S.S.B. is a consultant for and receives royalties from Arthrex, Inc. (Naples, Florida). P.J.D. is a consultant for and receives research support from Arthrex, Inc.

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