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Can a high acromion index predict rotator cuff tears?

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The purpose of this study was to identify the relationship between an acromion index (AI) and the size of a rotator cuff tear. The hypothesis of our study was that an AI will be higher in patients with a full-thickness tear than in patients with a partial-thickness articular-side tear, and that it can be used as a predictor for the size of a rotator cuff tear.


We included 284 patients who had been diagnosed with rotator cuff tears and had undergone arthroscopic rotator cuff repair at our institute. All patients were divided into five distinct groups (partial-thickness articular side tear, and four subgroups of full-thickness tears) depending on the size of the rotator cuff tear on arthroscopy. In each patient, an AI was measured on the pre-operative oblique coronal MR images and then analysed to determine the difference between groups.


There were statistically significant differences between the partial-thickness articular side rotator cuff tear and large-to-massive rotator cuff tear groups (p < 0.01), and the mean value of an AI was highest in the large-sized full-thickness tear group. The AI of the partial-thickness articular-side rotator cuff tear group was statistically different from the large-to-massive rotator cuff tear groups.


The AI can be a predictor which can differentiate a partial-thickness articular-side tear and a large-to-massive rotator cuff tear pre-operatively. However the AI could not provide useful guidance on predicting the differences in tear size in full-thickness tear patients. We suggest that a high AI can be one of the associated factors for progression to large-to-massive rotator cuff tears in a rotator cuff disease.

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Correspondence to Jae Hwa Kim.

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Kim, J.R., Ryu, K.J., Hong, I.T. et al. Can a high acromion index predict rotator cuff tears?. International Orthopaedics (SICOT) 36, 1019–1024 (2012).

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