We obtained MR images of 140 painful shoulders in 134 patients to determine the relationship between cystic changes of the humeral head and integrity of the rotator cuff. Cystic changes were observed in 49 shoulders (35%) and the commonest site was in the bare bone area of the anatomical neck, and the second commonest site was at the attachment of the supraspinatus tendon. Cystic changes in the bare bone area were observed equally often in shoulders with or without rotator cuff tears (27% and 18%, respectively) and were more frequently observed in the elderly. Cystic changes at the attachment of the supraspinatus and subscapularis tendons were specific to rotator cuff tears: they were observed in 28% of rotator cuff tears, but in none of those with an intact cuff. We conclude that there are two distinct types of cystic changes: one at the attachment of the supraspinatus and subscapularis tendons, which is closely related to tears of these tendons, and the other in the bare bone area of the anatomical neck, which is related to aging.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine