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EFORT Open Rev. 2019 Feb 20;4(2):56-62. doi: 10.1302/2058-5241.4.170071. eCollection 2019 Feb.

Rotator cable and rotator interval: anatomy, biomechanics and clinical importance.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey.
Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Loyola University, Chicago, USA.


The rotator cable and rotator interval are among the most recent topics of interest in current shoulder literature. Most of the research has been published in the last two decades and our understanding about the importance of these anatomical structures has improved with biomechanical studies, which changed the pre- and intra-operative approaches of shoulder surgeons to rotator cuff tears in symptomatic patients.The rotator cable is a thick fibrous bundle that carries the applied forces to the rotator cuff like a 'suspension bridge'. Tears including this weight-bearing bridge result in more symptoms. On the other hand, the rotator interval is more like a protective cover consisting of multiple layers of ligaments and the capsule rather than a single anatomical formation like the rotator cable.Advances in our knowledge about the rotator interval demonstrate that even basic anatomical structures often have greater importance than we may have understood. Misdiagnosis of these two important structures may lead to persistent symptoms.Furthermore, some distinct rotator cuff tear patterns can be associated with concomitant rotator interval injuries because of the anatomical proximity of these two anatomical regions. We summarize these two important structures from the aspect of anatomy, biomechanics, radiology and clinical importance in a review of the literature. Cite this article: EFORT Open Rev 2019;4:56-62. DOI: 10.1302/2058-5241.4.170071.


ligamentum semicirculare humeri; review; rotator cable; rotator cuff; rotator interval

Conflict of interest statement

ICMJE Conflict of interest statement: N. Garbis declares payment for lectures from DJO and Wright Medical, activity outside the submitted work.

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