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The combination of arthritis and rotator cuff tear is known as arthropathy. It is a severe and complex form of shoulder arthritis in which the shoulder has lost not only the cartilage that normally covers its joint surface but also the tendons of the rotator cuff tear which help position and power the joint.

Normally the tendons of the rotator cuff (large arrows) allow smooth motion of the upper end of the arm bone (humerus) beneath the overlying bones and muscles. Treatment options include partial joint replacement with a cuff tear arthropathy (CTA) prosthesis. If severe instability of the joint complicates cuff tear arthropathy, a reversed (reverse Delta) prosthesis may be indicated. The good news is that this condition is not lethal.