How does a compromised microvascular supply contribute to rotator cuff injuries?

Updated: Oct 25, 2018
  • Author: Gerard A Malanga, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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In 1934, Codman first described a critical zone in the supraspinatus tendon where a tenuous blood supply exists. [1]

A decrease in vascularity is noted with aging.

In 1970, Rathburn and Macnab showed that shoulder position is important for proper vascular supply to the rotator cuff. [23]

The term "wringing out" was coined to describe the reduced blood flow that occurs upon shoulder adduction.

The microvascular pattern of the supraspinatus tendon is thought to be nonhomogenic in cadavers. [24]

In 1990, Lohr and Uhthoff found that the bursal side of the supraspinatus tendon has a higher blood supply compared to the articular surface. [24] This difference in blood supply is thought to contribute to the increased incidence of articular surface tears compared with bursal tears.

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