Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 43–48 | Cite as

MR versus MR arthrography in detection of supraspinatus tendon tears in patients without previous shoulder surgery

  • Thomas MageeEmail author
Scientific Article



We report the prevalence of supraspinatus tendon tears seen on MR arthrography that are not seen on conventional MR exam in the same patient population.

Materials and methods

A total of 150 consecutive conventional shoulder MR and MR arthrography exams performed on the same patients who went on to arthroscopy were reviewed retrospectively by consensus reading of two musculoskeletal radiologists. Full-thickness supraspinatus tendon tears were assessed. None of the patients had previous shoulder surgery.


There were 113 full-thickness supraspinatus tendon tears seen on conventional MR exam while there were 119 full-thickness supraspinatus tendon tears seen on MR arthrography. The six additional full-thickness supraspinatus tendon tears seen on MR arthrography but not seen on conventional MR exam were confirmed at arthroscopy.


Some full-thickness supraspinatus tendon tears are not seen on conventional MR exam but are seen on MR arthrography. This is most likely due to fibrosis at the supraspinatus tendon tear site simulating an intact tendon on conventional MR.


MR Shoulder Arthrography Rotator cuff tear 


Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to report.


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Copyright information

© ISS 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NSIMerritt IslandUSA
  2. 2.University of Central Florida School of MedicineOrlandoUSA

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