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Rotator Cuff Tear

Rotator Cuff Tear - Glossary

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 11:26

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are definitions of medical terms related to rotator cuff injury.

Acromion: A portion of the shoulder blade (scapula) that overhangs the rotator cuff and humerus (upper arm bone).

Acromioplasty: An operation in which the surgeon removes bone spurs and other abnormalities and widens the space between the rotator cuff and the acromion, or shoulder blade. Also called impingement surgery or subacromial decompression.

Arthroscopy: A technique in which the surgeon makes a small incision, then inserts a thin tube that contains a miniature video camera and surgical instruments. Doctors can sometimes perform arthroscopic, rather than open, surgery to repair rotator cuff problems.

Ball-and-socket joint: A joint in which the ball-like end of one bone fits into a cavity, or socket, of another. Human beings have two types of ball-and-socket joints - the hip and the shoulder. Because of their structure, ball-and-socket joints are more flexible than other joints, most of which act like hinges, moving back and forth in one plane.

Bone spurs: Abnormal bone growths.

Bursa: (Plural bursae) A soft, fluid-filled sac that helps to cushion and lubricate soft tissue surfaces that glide over one another. In the shoulder, bursae are located between the rotator cuff and the acromion.

Bursitis: Chronic irritation or inflammation of a bursa (plural bursae), a soft, fluid-filled sac that helps to cushion and lubricate soft tissue surfaces. In the shoulder, bursae are located between the rotator cuff and the acromion.

Cartilage: Smooth, elastic tissue that acts as a cushion between bones.

Humerus: The upper arm bone. The four tendons of the rotator cuff connect muscles of the shoulder to the humerus.

Impingement: A defect of the shoulder in which the space between the acromion and rotator cuff narrows and pinches the rotator cuff tendons. Impingement is the most common cause of rotator cuff problems, including rotator cuff tears.

Impingement surgery: An operation in which the surgeon removes bone spurs and other abnormalities and widens the space between the rotator cuff and the acromion, or shoulder blade. Also known as acromioplasty or subacromial decompression.

Ligaments: Strong, flexible, bands that connect bones to each other.

Passive exercise: An exercise in which a joint is moved without using the muscles that ordinarily control the joint. Passive exercise is an important part of rehabilitation from rotator cuff surgery because it helps to prevent the buildup of scar tissue.

Range of motion: The full spectrum of a joint's possible movements. The shoulder joint has a greater range of motion than any other joint in the human body.

Rotator cuff: A collective term for the four tendons that connect muscles of the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone (humerus).

Scapula: The shoulder blade. A hollow cavity at the end of the scapula forms the "socket" of the shoulder joint. A part of the scapula known as the acromion overhangs the rotator cuff.

Subacromial decompression: An operation in which the surgeon removes bone spurs and other abnormalities and widens the space between the rotator cuff and the acromion, or shoulder blade. Also known as acromioplasty or impingement surgery.

Tendinitis: Chronic swelling or inflammation of tendons due to overuse or irritation; a common problem affecting the shoulder.

Tendon: A stringy tissue that connects muscle to bone. Four tendons collectively form the rotator cuff.

 

Rotator Cuff Injury