We present a case of ipsilateral spontaneous ruptures of the distal biceps and rotator cuff tendons secondary to syringomyelia of the cervical spine. The distal biceps tendon ruptured first and underwent successful repair. Six months postoperatively, the patient was found to have an ipsilateral massive acute-on-chronic rotator cuff tear following minimal trauma, with a well-maintained glenohumeral joint space. He was subsequently diagnosed with a syrinx and underwent neurosurgical decompression. Five months later, a successful lower trapezius transfer was performed.
Orthopaedic surgeons should maintain a high index of suspicion for a neurologic etiology in the setting of relatively atraumatic tendon ruptures in otherwise healthy young patients.
1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Carolinas Medical Center, 1025 Morehead Medical Drive, Suite 300, Charlotte, NC 28204.
2Shoulder and Elbow Center, OrthoCarolina, 1915 Randolph Road, Charlotte, NC 28207
aE-mail address: Kevin.Phelps@carolinashealthcare.org