Background: Research on the relationship between obesity and rotator cuff tears (RCTs) has been limited to the impact of obesity on the results of arthroscopic repair of RCTs; thus, a need for rigorous research controlling for other factors affecting RCTs is warranted, especially to better understand the impact of body mass index (BMI) on RCT severity. Methods: A retrospective study of admission records contained in electronic medical records pertaining to patients who were admitted for RCT repair on 1 shoulder between January 2018 and July 2022 was conducted. In total, 386 patients were included. In accordance with guidance regarding obesity from Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare, patients were divided into three groups: underweight or normal weight (BMI <24.0 kg/m2), overweight (BMI 24.0-26.9 kg/m2), or obese (BMI ≥27.0 kg/m2). Magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess RCT severity in terms of four parameters: Patte stage (PS), fatty infiltration (FI), anteroposterior tear size (AP), and retraction size. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was performed on PS and FI grade data, and multiple linear regression analysis was performed on AP tear size and retraction size in order to analyze impact. Results: Our results revealed that the average age of the 386 patients was 63.41 years (SD = 9.29) and the mean BMI was 25.88 (SD = 3.72) kg/m2. We found significant differences in PS (P = .003), FI (P < .001), retraction size (P = .001), and AP tear size (P = .001) among patients who were underweight or normal weight, overweight, and obese. After controlling for other risk factors, including age, gender, RCT-prone occupation, duration of shoulder pain prior to surgery, history of shoulder injury, and tobacco use, we found that obese patients had higher severity levels in PS (B = 1.21, OR = 3.36, P = .029), FI (B = 1.38, OR = 3.96, P < .001), retraction size (β = 0.18, P = .001), and AP tear size (β = 0.18, P = .001) compared to underweight or normal weight patients. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that a correlation exists between BMI-measured obesity and RCT severity. We therefore suggest that adults control their weight given that maintaining a healthy weight is highly associated with better shoulder health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-656
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Body mass index
  • Cross-Sectional Design
  • Epidemiology Study
  • Level III
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • obesity
  • overweight
  • rotator cuff tear
  • severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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