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Evaluation Of Rotator Cuff Recommended In Cases Of Traumatic Brachial Plexus Injury

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Approximately one in ten patients with traumatic brachial plexus injury experience concomitant rotator cuff tears, which may contribute to shoulder dysfunction, a new study has found.

The researchers noted that restoration of shoulder function is a primary goal when treating patients with traumatic brachial plexus injury. They highlighted the fact that concomitant rotator cuff tear may have a bearing on the treatment approach and prognosis for these individuals. As such, they set out to determine the prevalence of rotator cuff tears in patients with traumatic brachial plexus injuries.

A retrospective review of 280 adult patients with traumatic brachial plexus injury showed that 23 patients (8.2%) had a full-thickness rotator cuff tear. Of these, one patient had tears involving three tendons, eight patients had tears involving two tendons, twelve patients had a single-tendon tear, one patient had a single-tendon tear in each shoulder, and one patient had a single-tendon tear in one shoulder and a two-tendon tear in the other.

Older age was associated with an increased risk of full-thickness rotator cuff tears. Additionally, patients with infraclavicular brachial plexus injury had a significantly higher rate of full-thickness rotator cuff tears.

With concomitant rotator cuff tears – and potentially greater risk of shoulder dysfunction – seen in up to one in ten cases, the researchers concluded that evaluation of the rotator cuff with imaging studies is appropriate when formulating treatment strategies for patients with traumatic brachial plexus injury.

The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

http://www.healio.com/orthopedics/shoulder-elbow/news/online/%7Bc514d3cb-66b9-40df-95c2-e74d4009181c%7D/concomitant-rotator-cuff-tears-occur-with-traumatic-brachial-plexus-injury

http://jbjs.org/content/96/16/e139