European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 12 - Number 1
Eur J Anat, 12 (1): 39-45 (2008)

Quantitative study of the architecture of the human subacromial space and its relationship with rotator cuff tears

Potau J.M., Bardina X., Ciurana N., Pastor J.F.

Department of Human Anatomy and Embryology, School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, C/Casanova 143, 08036 Barcelona, Spain; Gimbernat School of Physical Therapy, Sant Cugat del Valles, Barcelona, Spain; Department of Anatomy and Radiology, School of Medicine, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain

ABSTRACT Rotator cuff tears usually cause a grinding facet in the undersurface of the acromion, called facies articularis acromialis, which is observable in dried scapulas. Some authors have related the pathogenesis of rotator cuff tears to an intrinsic degeneration of the cuff, while others have indicated that this pathology would be due to subacromial impingement. Some of the latter suggest that rotator cuff tears are associated with a narrowing of the subacromial space, mainly related to variations in the anatomy of the acromion. In order to obtain more information about the pathogenesis of rotator cuff tears we studied several anatomical parameters related to the architecture of the subacromial space in 112 human scapulas, divided into a healthy group and a pathological group depending on the lack or presence of a facies articularis acromialis in the undersurface of the acromion. The results obtained have not allowed us to identify significant differences in the different parameters studied in the two groups, not even in those related to the anatomy of the acromion. Our results, however, do allow us to suggest that rotator cuff tears seem to be more related to a primary degeneration of the cuff itself rather than to the anatomical characteristics of the subacromial space.

Keywords: acromion, analytic method, anatomical variation, anatomy, article, comparative anatomy, controlled study, human, human experiment, morphology, muscle injury, normal human, quantitative study, rotator cuff rupture, scapula, space, subacromial space

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)