[Symptomatic rotator cuff tear of the shoulder].

Barak Haviv*, Shlomo Bronak, Rafael Thein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Rotator cuff tears of the shoulder are common in the middle age and elderly population and can cause chronic pain. The prevalence of rotator cuff tears in people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s is 12.8%, 25.6%, 45.8% and 50% respectively. Etiological theories for tear evolvement are divided into intrinsic (e.g. recurrent microtrauma) and extrinsic (e.g. subacromial impingement). The subacromial bursa is probably the source of pain in symptomatic patients with rotator cuff tear. It is uncertain whether the tear itself can produce pain because of the high prevalence of asymptomatic tears. The symptoms are of gradual increase in shoulder pain and weakness, however, it can happen acutely due to an injury. Difficulties in overhead activities and night pain are common. Evaluation of shoulder muscle strength can imply on cuff tear. Shoulder radiograph is essential specifically to rule out other diagnosis. Imaging such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance can further define the tear, however they should be used only if they will affect the management of the condition. Common indications for surgical repair are acute tear in a relatively young and active patient or when the treatment of symptomatic patient with chronic tear had failed. Most repairs are currently performed in an all arthroscopic technique which is minimally invasive with easier rehabilitation and less pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-106, 126
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


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