Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 47, Issue 11, pp 1491–1497 | Cite as

Ultrasound measurements of axillary recess capsule thickness in unilateral frozen shoulder: study of correlation with MRI measurements

  • Du Hwan KimEmail author
  • Chul-Hyun Cho
  • Duk Hyun Sung
Scientific Article



The aims of this study were to compare the ultrasound thickness of the affected axillary recess capsule (ARC) with that of the unaffected ARC in patients with frozen shoulder (FS), to analyze whether the ultrasound measurements of the ARC thickness correlate with those obtained using MRI, and to assess whether the ultrasound thickness of the ARC correlates with the patterns of range of motion limitation.

Materials and methods

Forty-four patients with clinically diagnosed unilateral FS and MRI evaluation performed ultrasound measurement of ARC. The ultrasound measurement of the ARC thickness was performed with the patients in a supine position with their shoulder abducted by 40°. The ARC thickness was also measured by MRI on oblique coronal images by another physician blinded to the ultrasound measurements. With both ultrasound and MRI, ARC thickness was determined at the widest portion of the capsule.


The ultrasound thickness of ARC was significantly higher in the affected shoulder (4.4 ± 1.1 mm) than in the unaffected one (2.2 ± 0.5 mm) (p < 0.001). The ultrasound thickness of the ARC in the affected shoulder correlated with that measured by MRI (8.9 ± 1.9 mm) (p < 0.001, r = 0.83). The ARC thickness, whether measured by ultrasound or MRI, was not significantly related to the limitation of movement in specific directions.


Ultrasound can demonstrate the difference in ARC thickness between affected and unaffected shoulders in patients with unilateral FS. The ARC thickness measured by ultrasound correlates with that measured by MRI.


Frozen shoulder Ultrasound Axillary recess capsule 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethics approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional review board.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. They did not receive any financial support or other benefits from commercial sources for the work reported on this manuscript, nor did any of the authors have any financial interests with regard to the work that may create a potential conflict of interest or the appearance of one. This work has not been presented, submitted, or published in any form or any language.


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Copyright information

© ISS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation MedicineDongsan Medical Center, School of Medicine, Keimyung UniversityDaeguSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryDongsan Medical Center, School of Medicine, Keimyung UniversityDaeguSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Physical and Rehabilitation MedicineSamsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea

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