Background: It is unclear whether smaller rotator cuff tears cause cartilage degeneration. This study was designed to detect early humeral head cartilage degeneration in patients with small-to-medium cuff tears using magnetic-resonance-imaging T1 rho mapping. Methods: Five male and 5 female volunteers without shoulder symptoms (control group) and 5 male and 5 female patients with small-to-medium (<3 cm) rotator cuff tears underwent 3.0-T magnetic resonance imaging of a single shoulder. T1 rho values of the humeral head cartilage were measured and analyzed. Results: The total mean T1 rho value was 40.4 ± 3.4 ms for the control group and 45.0 ± 5.3 ms for the patient group. In the control group, the T1 rho values in the inferior articular cartilage were significantly higher than those in the superior and middle articular cartilage. In the patient group, there was no significant difference between all regions. A comparison between the patient and control groups showed that the mean T1 rho values in the superior-to-middle articular cartilage were significantly higher for the patient group than for the control group. However, in the inferior articular cartilage, there was no significant difference between both groups. Conclusions: This study showed the possibility of early cartilage degenerative changes in the superior-to-middle humeral head articular cartilage of patients with small-to-medium rotator cuff tears.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine