Skip to main content

28.11.2016 | Shoulder | Ausgabe 7/2017

Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy 7/2017

Degree of tendon degeneration and stage of rotator cuff disease

Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy > Ausgabe 7/2017
Chris Hyunchul Jo, Won Hyoung Shin, Ji Wan Park, Ji Sun Shin, Ji Eun Kim



While tendon degeneration has been known to be an important cause of rotator cuff disease, few studies have objectively proven the association of tendon degeneration and rotator cuff disease. The purpose of this study was to investigate changes of tendon degeneration with respect to the stage of rotator cuff disease.


A total of 48 patients were included in the study: 12 with tendinopathy, 12 with a partial-thickness tear (pRCT), 12 with a full-thickness tear (fRCT), and 12 as the control. A full-thickness supraspinatus tendon sample was harvested en bloc from the middle portion between the lateral edge and the musculotendinous junction of the tendon using a biopsy punch with a diameter of 3 mm. Harvested samples were evaluated using a semi-quantitative grading scale with 7 parameters after haematoxylin and eosin staining.


There was no significant difference in age, gender, symptom duration, and Kellgren-Lawrence grade between the groups except for the global fatty degeneration index. All of the seven parameters were significantly different between the groups and could be categorized as follows: early responders (fibre structure and arrangement), gradual responder (rounding of the nuclei), after-tear responders (cellularity, vascularity, and stainability), and late responder (hyalinization). The total degeneration scores were not significantly different between the control (6.08 ± 1.16) and tendinopathy (6.67 ± 1.83) (n.s.). However, the score of pRCT group (10.42 ± 1.31) was greater than that of tendinopathy (P < 0.001), and so was the score of fRCT (12.33 ± 1.15) than that of pRCT (p = 0.009).


This study showed that the degeneration of supraspinatus tendon increases as the stage of rotator cuff disease progresses from tendinopathy to pRCT, and then to fRCT. The degree of degeneration of tendinopathy was not different from that of normal but aged tendons, and significant tendon degeneration began from the stage of pRCT. The clinical relevance of the study is that strategies and goals of the treatment for rotator cuff disease should be specific to its stage, in order to prevent disease progression for tendinopathy and pRCT, as well to restore the structural integrity for fRCT.

Level of evidence

Diagnostic, Level I.

Bitte loggen Sie sich ein, um Zugang zu diesem Inhalt zu erhalten

e.Med Interdisziplinär

Mit e.Med Interdisziplinär erhalten Sie Zugang zu allen CME-Fortbildungen und Fachzeitschriften auf Zusätzlich können Sie eine Zeitschrift Ihrer Wahl in gedruckter Form beziehen – ohne Aufpreis.

Weitere Produktempfehlungen anzeigen
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 7/2017

Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy 7/2017 Zur Ausgabe
  1. Das kostenlose Testabonnement läuft nach 14 Tagen automatisch und formlos aus. Dieses Abonnement kann nur einmal getestet werden.

Neu im Fachgebiet Orthopädie und Unfallchirurgie

Mail Icon II Newsletter

Bestellen Sie unseren kostenlosen Newsletter Update Orthopädie und Unfallchirurgie und bleiben Sie gut informiert – ganz bequem per eMail.