According to an article in the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), preoperative shear wave elastography (SWE) can play a complementary role with existing imaging as a prognostic marker for achieving successful rotator cuff repair.
Noting that SWE-derived elasticity is higher in patients with insufficient rotator cuff repair, “elasticity ratio independently predicted insufficient repair,” writes corresponding author Eun Kyung Khil, MD, a radiologist at Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital in Korea.
From May 2019 to January 2021, Khil’s team prospectively studied 74 patients (37 men, 37 women; mean age, 63.9 years) who underwent rotator cuff repair, including preoperative shoulder MRI and investigational shoulder ultrasound using SWE. The researchers measured mean elasticity of the supraspinatus and trapezius muscles, then calculated the elasticity ratio between the two.
Ultimately, preoperative elasticity ratio of the supraspinatus muscle—determined via SWE—was significantly higher in patients with insufficient rather than sufficient repair (3.66 vs. 1.83) and predicted insufficient repair (odds ratio=15.6) independently of tear size and muscle characteristics assessed by MRI and grayscale ultrasound.
Having measured SWE values in the supine position, rather than in a sitting position, to decrease tone, stiffness, and gravitational load of the trapezius muscle, “future studies are warranted to assess for differences in SWE values between the two positions,” the authors of this AJR article acknowledge.