Partial thickness rotator cuff tears (PRCTs) are a challenging disease entity. Optimal management of PRCTs continues to be controversial. Although advances in magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasonography have aided in early diagnosis, arthroscopic evaluation remains the benchmark for diagnosis. Conservative treatment is often the first line of management for most patients; however, evidence suggests that surgical intervention may limit tear progression and the long-term sequelae. Surgical decision making is driven by factors such as age, arm dominance, etiology, activity level, tear thickness, and tear location. Many surgical options have been described in the literature to treat PRCTs including arthroscopic d├ębridement, transosseous, in situ repair techniques, and tear completion and repair. Biologic supplements have also become an attractive alternative to aid in healing; however, the long-term efficacy of these modalities is largely unknown. This article will provide a detailed review of the etiology and natural history of PRCTs, as well as diagnosis, and current management to guide clinical decision-making and formulate an algorithm for management of PRCTs for the orthopaedic surgeon.





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