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Association of Rotator Cuff Tear Patterns and Intramuscular Fatty Infiltration on Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

  • Davis, Derik L1
  • Gilotra, Mohit N2
  • Hovis, James Paul3
  • Almardawi, Ranyah1
  • Hasan, S Ashfaq2
  • 1 Departments of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 2 Departments of Orthopaedics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 3 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
Published Article
Journal of clinical imaging science
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
DOI: 10.25259/JCIS_36_2019
PMID: 31538036


The impact of rotator cuff (RC) tear pattern on intramuscular fatty infiltration (FI) is not well understood. The purpose of our study is to determine if differing RC tear patterns are associated with discordant presentations of intramuscular FI. Fifty-one adults with full-thickness tear of the posterosuperior RC on shoulder magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were identified retrospectively. The study subjects were stratified by RC tear pattern: (1) L-shaped tear cohort, (2) crescent-/U-shaped tear cohort, and (3) complete tear cohort. Clinical information pertaining to age, sex, tear size, trauma history, and length of clinical symptoms was recorded from the institution's picture archiving and communication system. Goutallier grade was assessed on oblique sagittal T1-weighted MRI by two orthopedic surgeons and one orthopedic resident. A musculoskeletal radiologist recorded the shape and size of full-thickness RC tears. Descriptive, correlation, and reliability analyses were performed. The L-shaped, crescent-/U-shaped, and compete tear cohorts demonstrated significant differences pertaining to tear size (P < 0.001) and infraspinatus Goutallier grade (P = 0.024), but not supraspinatus Goutallier grade (P = 0.370). Age had strong correlation to supraspinatus Goutallier grade (rs = 0.712, P = 0.031) and infraspinatus Goutallier grade (rs = 0.712, P = 0.029) in the crescent-/U-shaped tear cohort. Tear size had strong correlation to supraspinatus Goutallier grade (rs = 0.796, P = 0.001) and infraspinatus Goutallier grade (rs = 0.793, P = 0.001) in the complete tear cohort. Moderate interobserver agreement was present for supraspinatus (kappa, 0.484) and infraspinatus (kappa, 0.427) Goutallier grade. RC tear pattern is associated with different presentations of intramuscular FI at the posterosuperior RC. Full-thickness tears involving the crescent region of the RC cuff are associated with age. Intramuscular FI is associated with RC tear size.

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