Charles S. Grimshaw, Lisa K. Cannada and Scott Kaar
A rotator cuff tear in a polytraumatized patient can be a devastating injury if not identified early. Traumatic rotator cuff tears are often massive, and generally retract within a short period of time. If the tear is missed, the consequences are profound especially if the tear becomes irreparable and especially in the younger, more active population. These consequences include pseudoparalysis, persistent pain, and rotator cuff tear arthropathy. Specific examination of the polytraumatized patient with shoulder pain on secondary/tertiary survey should include a detailed assessment of the rotator cuff. Ultrasound has been advocated as a potential adjunct to MRI but most surgeons would agree that MRI is imaging study of choice for evaluation of the rotator cuff. The treatment of acute or acute on chronic traumatic rotator cuff tear in the polytraumatized patient should be early rotator cuff repair when the patient’s
medical status allows.
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