The incidence of rotator cuff rupture. An anatomic study.

Published online: Jun 27 1991

J Jerosch, T Müller, and W H Castro.

Orthopaedic Department, Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany.


To evaluate the incidence of rotator cuff ruptures, we examined 122 autopsy specimens of the shoulder and compared our results with those reported in the literature. The incidence of partial tears in our study was 28.7%; the incidence of complete rupture was 30.3%. The frequency increased with age. We found no cuff rupture without supraspinatus tendon involvement. Very often, the cuff tear was bilateral. We do not share the opinion that the rupture of the rotator cuff is primarily an injury of men. We found a higher incidence in female than in male shoulders.