Patterns of Vascular and Anatomic Response Following Rotator Cuff Repair (SS34)

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The rotator cuff (RC) insertions according to most anatomical texts are described as being separate from one another. However, clear fusion of the RC tendon fibres exists with prior studies showing this interdigitation forming a common, continuous insertion onto and around the lesser and greater tubercles (LT and GT) of the humerus. Current surgical repair methods (especially arthroscopic techniques) rarely mention or consider these connections during repair and suture anchor implantation. The general principles of RC surgery remain a controversial subject, due to various available techniques, surgeon experience and preference, and the contradicting success rates. This results from old-fashioned knowledge of the anatomy of the RC complex and its functional aspects. Therefore, the purpose of this project was to visualise and define the RC footprint and extension insertions with the aim of enhancing and improving knowledge of the basic anatomy in the hopes that this will be considered during orthopaedic repair. Twenty shoulders (16 cadaveric and 4 fresh) were used in the study. The fresh shoulders were received from the National Tissue Bank, and ethical clearance was obtained (239/2015). Reverse dissection was performed to better visualise the RC unit exposing the interdigitated rotator hood (extension insertions), as well as the complete RC unit (tendons + internal capsule) separated from the scapula and humerus. Once the insertions were exposed and documented, the RC muscle footprint (articular surface area) was measured and recorded, using AutoCAD 2016. No statistical significant difference between left and right (p = 0.424) was noted, but a significant difference between males and females (p = 0.000) was. Collectively, these findings indicate and strengthen evidence towards the notion that the RC muscles/tendons and the internal capsule are one complete and inseparable unit/complex. The fact that the RC unit is more complex in its structure and attachment places importance on the biomechanical stresses encountered after repair. Functions of one RC muscle are not necessarily isolated but instead can be influenced by surrounding muscles as well. In addition to providing greater understanding of the basic anatomy of the RC unit, these findings also provide clarity for surgeons with the goal of improving and enhancing surgical methods for better post-operative patient outcome.
Patients with rotator cuff tears have varying degrees of symptom expression. Our purpose was to evaluate the differential firing patterns of the rotator cuff, deltoid, and scapular stabilizer muscle groups in normal control subjects and in patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic 2-tendon rotator cuff tears. Eighteen subjects were evaluated: six normal subjects and twelve with 2-tendon cuff tears (six asymptomatic and six symptomatic). All cuff tear patients had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans documenting superoposterior tear configurations involving the supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendons; all normal subjects had an ultrasound examination confirming the absence of cuff pathology. Subjects were grouped based on shoulder examination and outcomes questionnaires. Asymptomatic patients had minimal pain (<3 on the visual analog scale and no loss of active range of motion compared with the contralateral side); symptomatic patients had pain greater than 3 on the visual analog scale and decreased range of motion compared with the contralateral side (>10 degrees of motion loss). Electromyographic activity from 12 muscles and kinematic data were collected simultaneously during 10 functional tasks. Both symptomatic and asymptomatic cuff subjects demonstrated a trend toward increased muscle activation during all tasks compared with normal subjects. During the internal rotation tasks, asymptomatic patients had significantly greater (P<.05) subscapularis activity than symptomatic patients (65% maximal voluntary contraction [MVC] vs 42% MVC). During the carrying task, asymptomatic patients demonstrated significantly less (P<.03) upper trapezius muscle activation than symptomatic patients (16% MVC vs 50% MVC). During shoulder elevation tasks, symptomatic patients had significantly greater supraspinatus (52% MVC vs 28% MVC, P<.03), infraspinatus (32% MVC vs 16% MVC, P<.05), and upper trapezius (39% MVC vs 20% MVC, P<.04) muscle activation compared with asymptomatic patients. During heavy elevation (8 lb), asymptomatic patients showed a trend toward increased activation (P<.06) of the subscapularis compared with symptomatic patients (34% MVC vs 21% MVC). Differential shoulder muscle firing patterns in patients with rotator cuff pathology may play a role in the presence or absence of symptoms. Asymptomatic subjects demonstrated increased firing of the intact subscapularis, whereas symptomatic subjects continued to rely on torn rotator cuff tendons and periscapular muscle substitution, resulting in compromised function.
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