Objective: There is still controversy about the effect of anabolic steroid on connective tissue. This study examines the hypothesis that the local use of nandrolone decanoate, an anabolic steroid on rotator cuff, facilitates the healing process when used in combination with surgical repair.
Methods: Forty-eight male rabbits were divided in four groups with anabolic steroids (Nandrolone Decanoate 10 mg/kg) and immobilization as variables. The groups were the following: first group, nonsteroid use-immobilization (NSI); second group, nonsteroid use-nonimmobilization (NSNI); third group, steroid use-immobilization (SI); fourth group steroid use-nonimmobilization (SNI). Every rabbit underwent a rotator cuff incision and reconstruction. Fifteen days later the tendons were sent for biomechanical and histological evaluation.
Results: Groups that did not receive anabolic steroids showed better healing and more tendon strength in comparison to groups that received anabolic steroids. Microscopic examination of specimens from the groups without the use of anabolic steroid showed extensive fibroblastic activity whereas the specimens from those groups with anabolic steroid use showed focal fibroblastic reaction and inflammation. Immobilization provided better results in the groups with anabolic steroid use but it did not influence healing in groups without steroids.
Conclusions: The effect of local nandrolone decanoate use on a rotator cuff tear is detrimental, acting as a healing inhibitor.