ISAKOS Congress 2021

2021 ISAKOS Biennial Congress Paper

 

Correlation Between Shoulder Function and Radiologic Severity of Supraspinatus Pathology

Stephen M Gillinov, AB, New Haven, Connecticut UNITED STATES
Nathan Varady, MD, MBA, Boston, MA UNITED STATES
Paul F Abraham, BS, Boston, Massachusetts UNITED STATES
Michael Peter Kucharik, BS, Boston, Massachusetts UNITED STATES
Christopher T Eberlin, BS, Boston, MA UNITED STATES
Scott Martin, MD, Boston, MA UNITED STATES

Massachusetts General Hospital: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports Medicine, Boston, MA, UNITED STATES

FDA Status Not Applicable

Summary

Radiologic severity of supraspinatus pathology was correlated with dynamic clinical function across the full range of pathology, revealing the functional importance of radiologic categories.

Abstract

Introduction

The purpose of this biomechanical study was to examine shoulder strength and function in patients presenting with presumptive supraspinatus pathology and to determine if these clinical parameters are correlated with radiologic severity.

Methods

We prospectively enrolled 171 patients with suspected rotator cuff pathology disease and without apparent strength deficit on traditional rotator cuff physical examination (PE). This study evaluating dynamic strength testing was strictly limited to patients with negative traditional, static PE tests. All patients underwent two bilateral shoulder strength tests using dynamometry; first, isometric strength was measured at 90 degrees of abduction and, second, isotonic strength was measured eccentrically from full abduction throughout the full range of motion until the arm was at the patient’s side. For both of these tests, the examiner placed the handheld dynamometer (Hoggan microFET® 3; Hoggan Scientific, LLC, Salt Lake City UT, USA) on the patient’s wrist, perpendicular to the arm, to measure the force applied along the arc. Absolute strength and symptomatic-to-asymptomatic arm (S/A) strength ratios were calculated. All patients were included in analyses of absolute strength measurements on strength testing. Patients then underwent shoulder MRI, classifying supraspinatus findings into one of seven ordinal categories. The primary outcome was the relationship between the radiologic severity of supraspinatus pathology on MRI and the degree of rotator cuff strength deficit upon exam. Results were analyzed for both isotonic and isometric function.

Results

Increasing imaging severity was significantly associated with decreasing absolute strength during isotonic testing (P=0.036). Specifically, absolute strength measurements declined with increasingly severe imaging findings, from no tear [59.9 N], to tendinopathy [50.9 N], to fraying [48.2 N], to PTT [55.0 N], to high-grade PTT [48.9 N], to focal FTT/full thickness perforation [45.7 N], to FTT [44.2 N]. Similarly, increasing imaging severity was significantly associated with decreasing S/A strength ratios during isotonic testing (P=0.022). Isotonic S/A strength ratios declined with increasingly severe imaging findings, from no tear [91.9%], to tendinopathy [70.8%], to fraying [66.1%], to PTT [76.2%], to high-grade PTT [75.7%], to focal FTT/full thickness perforation [65.2%], to FTT [63.3%]. In contrast to isotonic testing, increasing imaging severity was not significantly associated with decreased absolute strength measurements on isometric testing (P=0.12). Similar results were seen for isometric S/A ratio, as increasing imaging severity was not significantly associated with S/A strength ratio (P=0.085).

Discussion

Radiologic severity of supraspinatus pathology was correlated with dynamic clinical function across the full range of pathology, revealing the functional importance of these frequently-used classifications. The lower discriminatory ability of isometric measurements and higher strength measurements on isometric assessment may be related to a greater role of compensatory musculature in static testing. These biomechanical results support the need for future work investigating the utility of dynamic rotator cuff physical examination maneuvers.

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