After rotator cuff tears, the remaining (intact) tendons are mechanically altered

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. Jan-Feb 2009;18(1):52-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2008.07.003.


Although presumed, damage in the remaining (intact) rotator cuff tendons in the presence of an isolated supraspinatus tendon tear or multiple tendon tear has not been well studied. This study used an animal model of multiple rotator cuff tendon tears to investigate alterations in the remaining (intact) tendon mechanical properties at 4 and 8 weeks after injury. Twenty-four rats served as uninjured controls, whereas 72 were divided among 3 tendon detachment groups: supraspinatus tendon detachment, supraspinatus + infraspinatus tendon detachment, and supraspinatus + subscapularis tendon detachment. The remaining (intact) rotator cuff tendons had decreased mechanical properties in the presence of rotator cuff tears. The remaining (intact) subscapularis and infraspinatus tendon cross-sectional areas increased, whereas tendon modulus decreased after tears of both 1 and 2 tendons. The remaining (intact) tendon cross-sectional areas continued to increase with time after injury. These alterations could potentially lead to further tendon damage and tear progression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rotator Cuff / physiopathology
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries*
  • Rupture
  • Tendon Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Tendons / physiopathology*
  • Time Factors