Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


Recently, I had arthroscopic surgery to repair my rotator cuff. The doctor told me it was a “massive” tear. What does this mean?


Doctors use different measures to define “massive” tears in the rotator cuff. In one study, the torn tendon was 5 cm (1¼ inches) wide after the shredded edges were removed. Another study defined “massive” as tears of two or more tendons. There are four tendons in the rotator cuff of the shoulder. Not all tears of the same size are equal. Researchers believe that tears of the subscapularis tendons are worse than other tears. A torn subscapularis combined with another tendon in the rotator cuff often has a poor outcome. William F. Bennett, MD. Arthroscopic Repair of Massive Rotator Cuff Tears: A Prospective Cohort With 2- to 4-Year Follow-up. In Arthroscopy. April 2003. Vol. 19. No. 4. Pp. 380-390.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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