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Proximal humerus fractures and shoulder dislocations: Prevalence of concomitant rotator cuff tear

Lookup NU author(s): Oday Al-Dadah



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Background: Proximal humerus fractures and shoulder dislocations are relatively common. However, an associated rotator cuff tear is often missed with these injuries. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of a concomitant rotator cuff tear associated with common shoulder injuries. Methods: A cross-sectional epidemiological study of three patient populations: Group 1. Proximal Humerus Fractures; Group 2. Shoulder Dislocations; Group 3. Proximal Humerus Fracture-Dislocations. All patients within these three groups presented to and underwent subsequent management of their shoulder injury at a trauma unit. Management included both non-operative and operative intervention. Patients were evaluated for associated rotator cuff tears. Results: This study included a total of 196 patients: Group 1 = 146 Proximal Humerus Fractures; Group 2 = 37 Shoulder Dislocations; Group 3 = 13 Proximal Humerus Fracture-Dislocations. Of the 196 patients in total, 23 (11.7%) sustained a concomitant rotator cuff tear. The highest number of tears was found in Group 1 (n = 14). However, the highest percentage prevalence of tears was in Group 2 (18.9%). There was noted to be a higher prevalence of rotator cuff tears with increasing age. Twenty-two (95.7%) rotator cuff tears were detected in patients over 50 years of age. The vast majority of rotator cuff tears were detected by ultrasound (78.3%) as opposed to magnetic resonance imaging (21.7%). The majority of tears were full-thickness (60.9%). Of the 23 patients with a concomitant rotator cuff tear, 17 involved a single tendon (73.9%) and supraspinatus was most common (69.6%). Conclusions: A concomitant rotator cuff tear in association with a proximal humerus fracture, shoulder dislocation or proximal humerus fracture-dislocation is relatively common. The overall rotator cuff tear prevalence in this study was 11.9%. Rotator cuff tears are more likely to occur in patients over 50 years old and those sustaining a shoulder dislocation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Green M, Whetter R, Al-Dadah O

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Orthopaedics, Trauma and Rehabilitation

Year: 2023

Volume: 30

Issue: 1

Print publication date: 01/06/2023

Online publication date: 17/11/2022

Acceptance date: 15/09/2022

Date deposited: 13/12/2022

ISSN (print): 2210-4917

ISSN (electronic): 2210-4925

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/22104917221101409


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