Preliminary ultrasound evaluation of the rotator cable in asymptomatic volunteers

D. Orlandi, L. M. Sconfienza, E. Fabbro, G. Ferrero, C. Martini, F. Lacelli, G. Serafini, E. Silvestri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To characterize the rotator cable high-resolution ultrasound appearance in asymptomatic shoulders of volunteers of different age. Materials and methods: IRB approval and volunteers' written consent was obtained. Excluding subjects with known shoulder affections, we screened 24 asymptomatic volunteers. Supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendons high-resolution ultrasound evaluation was performed according to standard scan protocols, further excluding shoulders with partial/full-thickness cuff tears. Thus, we studied 24 shoulders in 12 young volunteers (age range 21-39 years, mean age 33 ± 8 years) and 21 shoulders in 11 elderly volunteers (age range 62-83 years, mean age 75 ± 45 years). For each shoulder, we noted rotator cable visibility and its thickness and width. Fisher's and . U Mann-Whitney statistics were used. Results: Rotator cable was less frequently detected in young than in elderly volunteers (5/24 vs. 11/21 shoulders; . P = 0.034). When detected, rotator cable was significantly thicker in young (range 1.2-1.5 mm, mean thickness 1.3 ± 0.1 mm) than in elderly (range 0.9-1.4 mm, mean thickness 1.2 ± 0.1 mm) volunteers (P = 0.025), while its width was not significantly different in young (range 4.5-7.1 mm, mean 5.6 ± 1.1 mm) compared to elderly (range 2.5-7.1 mm, mean 4.2 ± 1.4 mm) volunteers (P = 0.074) although a tendency can be highlighted. Conclusions: Ultrasound demonstrated the different consistency of rotator cable in young and elderly asymptomatic patients, with high interobserver reproducibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-19
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Ultrasound
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • High-resolution ultrasound
  • Rotator cuff cable
  • Shoulder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Internal Medicine


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