PURPOSE: This study examined the relationship between the presence of a pit above the lesser tuberosity on axial view radiographs and rotator cuff tears and compared the demographic data between groups according to the presence of a pit above the lesser tuberosity. The hypothesis of this study was that the radiographic finding of a pit above the lesser tuberosity is related to rotator cuff tears.
METHODS: For 112 patients with a symptomatic rotator cuff tear, plain radiographs of the symptomatic shoulder (tear side radiographs) and plain radiographs of the asymptomatic contralateral shoulder (no-tear side radiographs) were assessed. Seventeen radiological findings, including a pit above the lesser tuberosity, osteophytes, subchondral cysts, and sclerosis, were recorded by one blinded observer. Demographic data such as age, duration of symptoms, sex, arm dominance, smoking history, trauma history, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score, Constant score, and involved tendon were collected.
RESULTS: A pit above the lesser tuberosity was noted on tear side radiographs of 40 patients (35.7 %) and on the no-tear side radiographs of 27 patients (24.1 %), representing a significant difference (P = 0.040). A pit associated with a rotator cuff tear was observed more often in the dominant arm (P = 0.040) and more often in patients with less previous trauma (P = 0.024).
CONCLUSIONS: A pit above the lesser tuberosity on axial view radiography was associated with a rotator cuff tear and occurred more often in the dominant arm of patients who had no trauma history.
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