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Online ISSN 1827-1707
Ko S.-H. 1, Park H.-C. 2
1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery Ulsan University Hospital, Ulsan, South Korea;
2 Department of Orthopedic Surgery Daegu Saemyung Hospital, Daegu, South Korea
The meaning of partial thickness rotator cuff tears is pathologic condition that the rotator cuff tendon is partially disrupted. A partial thickness rotator cuff tear should be understood as a spectrum of rotator cuff disease. Partial thickness rotator cuff tears are regarded as a part of the process to inflammatory tendinopahty resulted from swelling in the rotator cuff and rubbing against the acromion, fibrosis of rotator cuff and partial or full thickness tears. However, there are insufficient clear evidences of spontaneous healing of partial rotator cuff tears. The diagnosis of a partial thickness rotator cuff tear is a complex process considering that accurate diagnosis can be only made when history taking, physical examination findings and imaging results are comprehensively reviewed. Up to present, various imaging studies have been used in the diagnosis of partial thickness rotator cuff tears. Diagnostic accuracy of partial thickness rotator cuff tears is improved when the diagnosis is made through MR arthrography based on symptoms and clinical findings. Treatments for partial thickness rotator cuff tears can be varied depending on the causes, locations and clinical symptoms. Surgical interventions must be considered in the context of the reasonable expectations for success as well as likelihood of failure. The present review describes the classification, natural history, diagnosis, surgical treatments and outcomes of partial thickness rotator cuff tears.