Stemcelldoc's Weblog

August 10, 2013

Rotator Cuff Tears and Onset of Symptoms

At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic we acknowledge the pain, limitation and frustration associated with a rotator cuff tear.


A recent study from Norway examined the natural progression of rotator cuff tears in asymptomatic patients.

Was the progression of the rotator cuff tears correlated with the onset of symptoms?

Study:  50 patients with asymptomatic FT rotator cuff tears were followed using ultrasound and MRI imaging.

Changes of tear size, muscle atrophy, fatty degeneration, and condition of the long head of the biceps tendon were evaluated over 3 years.

Key Points

Eighteen of fifty tears developed symptoms over the three years.(36%)

Significantly larger increase in the rotator tear size (3X) in the newly symptomatic group when compared with the still-asymptomatic group.

The rate of progressing to advanced muscle atrophy was higher in the newly symptomatic group.

The rate of pathology of the long head of the biceps tendon was significantly higher in the newly symptomatic group.

Bottom Line

Over a three year period 36% of asymptomatic rotator cuff tears became symptomatic.  Increase in tear size and decrease of muscle quality were correlated to the development of symptoms.

If you have a rotator cuff tear be mindful and know the natural progression of tears.  Treat early on when symptoms occur.  Treatments at Centeno-Schultz Clinic include MSK US guided cSCP, PL and autologous bone marrow stem cells.

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