Review Article| Volume 25, ISSUE 3, P371-386, July 2006

Shoulder Magnetic Resonance Imaging

      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.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribers receive full online access to your subscription and archive of back issues up to and including 2002.

      Content published before 2002 is available via pay-per-view purchase only.


      Subscribe to Clinics in Sports Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Kassarjian A.
        • Bencardino J.T.
        • Palmer W.E.
        MR imaging of the rotator cuff.
        Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am. 2004; 12: 39-60
        • Greenway G.D.
        • Danzig L.A.
        • Resnick D.
        • et al.
        The painful shoulder.
        Med Radiogr Photogr. 1982; 58: 21-67
        • Resnick D.
        Arthrography, tenography, and bursography.
        in: Resnick D. Diagnosis in bone and joint disorders, vol . 1. Saunders, Philadelphia1995: 277-409
        • De Maeseneer M.
        • Van Roy P.
        • Shahabpour M.
        Normal MR imaging anatomy of the rotator cuff tendons, glenoid fossa, labrum and ligaments of the shoulder.
        Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am. 2004; 12: 1-10
        • Davis S.J.
        • Teresi L.M.
        • Bradley W.G.
        • et al.
        Effects of arm rotation on MR imaging of the rotator cuff.
        Radiology. 1991; 181: 265-268
        • Tsai J.C.
        • Zlatkin M.B.
        Magnetic resonance imaging of the shoulder.
        Radiol Clin North Am. 1990; 28: 279-291
        • Kjellin I.
        • Ho C.P.
        • Cervilla V.
        • et al.
        Alterations in the supraspinatus tendon at MR imaging: correlation with histopathological findings in cadavers.
        Radiology. 1991; 181: 837-841
        • Meister K.
        • Thesing J.
        • Montgomery W.J.
        • et al.
        MR arthrography of partial thickness tears of the undersurface of the rotator cuff: an arthroscopic correlation.
        Skeletal Radiol. 2004; 33: 136-141
        • Payne L.Z.
        • Altchek D.W.
        • Craig E.V.
        • et al.
        Arthroscopic treatment of partial rotator cuff tears in young athletes: a preliminary report.
        Am J Sports Med. 1997; 25: 299-305
        • Recht M.P.
        • Resnick D.
        Magnetic resonance-imaging studies of the shoulder: diagnosis of lesions of the rotator cuff.
        J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1993; 75: 1244-1253
        • Cleeman E.
        • Flatlow E.L.
        Shoulder dislocations in the young patient.
        Orthop Clin North Am. 2000; 31: 217-229
        • McCauley T.R.
        • Pope C.F.
        • Jokl P.
        Normal and abnormal glenoid labrum: assessment with multiplanar gradient echo MRI imaging.
        Radiology. 1992; 183: 35-37
        • Resnick D.
        • Kransdorf M.J.
        Internal joint derangements.
        in: Resnick D. Kransdorf M.J. Bone and joint imaging. 3rd edition. Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia2005 (p 352)
        • Tirman P.F.J.
        • Feller J.F.
        • Janzen D.L.
        • et al.
        Association of glenoid labral cysts with labral tears and glenohumeral instability: radiologic findings and clinical significance.
        Radiology. 1994; 190: 653-658
        • Kaplan P.A.
        • Bryans K.C.
        • Davick J.P.
        • et al.
        MR imaging of the normal shoulder: variants and pitfalls.
        Radiology. 1992; 184: 519-524
        • Zanetti M.
        • Thorsten C.
        • Dominik W.
        • et al.
        MR arthrographic variability of the arthroscopically normal glenoid labrum: qualitative and quantitative assessment.
        Eur J Radiol. 2001; 11: 559-566
        • Loredo R.
        • Longo C.
        • Salonen D.
        • et al.
        Glenoid labrum: MR imaging with histologic correlation.
        Radiology. 1995; 196: 33-41
        • Smith D.K.
        • Chopp T.M.
        • Aufdemorte T.B.
        • et al.
        Sublabral recess of the superior glenoid labrum: study of cadavers with conventional nonenhanced MRI imaging, MR arthrography, anatomic dissection, and limited histological examination.
        Radiology. 1996; 201: 251-256
        • Cvitanic O.
        • Tirman P.F.
        • Feller J.F.
        • et al.
        Using abduction and external rotation of the shoulder to increase the sensitivity of MR arthrography in revealing tears of the anterior glenoid labrum.
        AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1997; 169: 837-844
        • Kwak S.M.
        • Brown R.R.
        • Trudell D.
        • et al.
        Glenohumeral joint: comparison of shoulder positions at MR arthrography.
        Radiology. 1998; 208: 375-380
        • Tirman P.F.
        • Bost F.W.
        • Steinbach L.S.
        • et al.
        MR arthrographic depiction of tears of the rotator cuff: benefit of abduction and external rotation of the arm.
        Radiology. 1994; 192: 851-856
        • Kreitner K.F.
        • Runkel M.
        • Grebe P.
        • et al.
        MR tomography versus CT arthrography in glenohumeral instabilities.
        Fortschr Geb Rontgenstr Nuklearmed. 1992; 157: 37-42