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Keywords:

  • supraspinatus tendon;
  • fat accumulation;
  • repair;
  • muscle

ABSTRACT

To investigate the impacts of delayed repairs of a supraspinatus tendon tear on the supraspinatus muscle, we used an animal model data from two previously published studies in which one supraspinatus (SSP) tendon was detached. In one cohort, the rabbits were killed in groups of 10 at 4, 8, and 12 weeks. In the other cohort, a repair was done at these time points, 12 rabbits each, and the animals killed were 12 weeks later. SSP fossa volume (Muscle belly plus extramuscular fat [e-fat] volume), percentage of intramuscular fat (i-fat), and muscle tissue volume (muscle belly volume minus i-fat), as well as CT determination of e-fat and i-fat of both cohorts, were compared. Fossa volume increased (p < 0.05). Muscle belly and muscle tissue volumes did not increase after repair (p > 0.05), but early repair prevented further volume losses, a fact not seen after 8 and 12 weeks delay of repair. No reversal of e-fat or of i-fat occurred, in fact i-fat almost doubled after 4 weeks delay of repair (p < 0.05). CT studies confirmed the fat results. We conclude that early repair prevented loss of muscle belly and muscle tissue volumes, but that it has no positive influence on fat accumulation. © 2014 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 32:1430–1435, 2014.