Utility of MR arthrography in the diagnosis of adhesive capsulitis
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Objective. Arthrographically, adhesive capsulitis is characterized by decreased joint volume; histologically, the capsule and synovium are thickened. We therefore compared using MR arthrography the joint volumes and capsule/synovial thickness of patients with and without adhesive capsulitis in order to assess the utility of MR arthrography in diagnosing adhesive capsulitis.
Design and patients. The 1.5 T MR arthrography images of 28 subjects with (n=9) and without (n=19) adhesive capsulitis were compared. Adhe- sive capsulitis was diagnosed when there was an injected glenohumeral joint volume of less than 10 ml. Two masked observers working in consensus assessed the images for the relative amount of fluid in the biceps tendon sheath and axillary recess, corrugation at the margin of the capsule, capsule/synovial thickness, abnormalities of the rotator interval capsule, and for the presence of a cuff tear.
Results. There was a trend towards differences in capsular and synovial thickness (P>0.07) between the subjects with and without adhesive capsulitis; however, the controls had thicker synovium/capsules. Surprisingly, the amount of fluid in the axillary recess and biceps tendon sheath was not significantly different between the groups (P>0.25). There were more tears of the rotator cuff in controls than in patients with adhesive capsulitis (6, 3 vs 1, 1: complete, partial). Also, both corrugation (7 vs 0) and interval abnormalities (7 vs 0) were more common in the controls.
Conclusion. There appear to be no useful MR arthrographic signs of adhesive capsulitis. Capsular/synovial thickness, static fluid volume, and the presence of corrugation are inconclusive as MR arthrographic signs for distinguishing shoulders with adhesive capsulitis from those without.
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