Are Fatty Infiltrations Reversible?
Reference:Rubino LJ, et al Fatty infiltration does not progress after rotator cuff repair in a rabbit model. Arthroscopy. 2008 Aug;24(8):936-40.
In a study likely not approved by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) 15 rabbits had their rotator cuff (RC) / supraspinatus muscle surgically detached from their greater tuberosity.
Six weeks after the simulated tendon tear…
5 rabbits were killed to halt the fatty infiltration process (control group).
10 rabbits received surgical repair of their RC tendon and were killed 6 months later.
The RC muscles of all the rabbits were examined microscopically and analyzed for fatty infiltration.
Result #1: 6 weeks after the tendon tear, fatty infiltration was evident in the supraspinatus muscle of all the rabbits.
Result #2: 6 months after the supraspinatus surgical repair, there was no progression of fatty infiltration in the repaired muscle as compared with the controls.
Result #3: 6 months after the supraspinatus surgical repair, there was no reversal of the fatty infiltration.
Conclusion #1: It appears that surgery can stop the progression of fatty infiltration.
Conclusion #2: It appears that surgery does NOT reverse the fatty infiltration once it’s occurred.
Personal Comment: It must be said that none of the rabbits received any physio either following their RC tear or post-op. I hypothesize that appropriate and aggressive strengthening of the rotator cuffs may reverse fatty infiltrations in any muscle, …but so far I have no study to support that thought …I prefer human studies, but it’s hard to find volunteers willing to have their artificially superspinatus torn!
Posted on: March 23, 2013