MRI provides excellent soft tissue contrast and allows for multiplanar imaging in anatomic planes. Because of these advantages MRI has become the study of choice for imaging of shoulder pathology. Some structures, such as the rotator cuff, humeral head contour, and glenoid shape, are evaluated well with conventional MRI. When more sensitive evaluation of the labrum, capsule, articular cartilage, and glenohumeral ligaments is required or when a partial-thickness rotator cuff tear is suspected, magnetic resonance (MR) arthrography with intra-articular contrast can be performed. For MR arthrography contrast is injected directly into the glenohumeral joint. This article reviews the appearances of normal anatomic structures in MRI of the shoulder and disorders involving the rotator cuff and glenoid labrum.
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