European Radiology

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 483–490 | Cite as

Ultrasound of the coracoclavicular ligaments in the acute phase of an acromioclavicular disjonction: Comparison of radiographic, ultrasound and MRI findings

  • Marie Faruch Bilfeld
  • Franck Lapègue
  • Hélène Chiavassa Gandois
  • Marie Aurélie Bayol
  • Nicolas Bonnevialle
  • Nicolas Sans



Acromioclavicular joint injuries are typically diagnosed by clinical and radiographic assessment with the Rockwood classification, which is crucial for treatment planning. The purpose of this study was to describe how the ultrasound findings of acromioclavicular joint injury compare with radiography and MRI findings.


Forty-seven patients with suspected unilateral acromioclavicular joint injury after acute trauma were enrolled in this prospective study. All patients underwent digital radiography, ultrasound and 3T MRI. A modified Rockwood classification was used to evaluate the coracoclavicular ligaments. The classifications of acromioclavicular joint injuries diagnosed with radiography, ultrasound and MRI were compared. MRI was used as the gold standard.


The agreement between the ultrasound and MRI findings was very good, with a correlation coefficient of 0.83 (95 % CI: 0.72–0.90; p < 0.0001). Ultrasound detected coracoclavicular ligament injuries with a sensitivity of 88.9 %, specificity of 90.0 %, positive predictive value of 92.3 % and negative predictive value of 85.7 %. The agreement between the ultrasound and radiography findings was poor, with a correlation coefficient of 0.69 (95 % CI: 0.51–0.82; p < 0.0001).


Ultrasound is an effective examination for the diagnostic work-up of lesions of the coracoclavicular ligaments in the acute phase of an acromioclavicular injury.

Key Points

Ultrasound is appropriate for acute acromioclavicular trauma due to its accessibility.

Ultrasound contributes to the diagnostic work-up of acute lesions of the coracoclavicular ligaments.

Ultrasound is appropriate in patients likely to benefit from surgical treatment.

Ultrasound could be a supplement to standard radiography in acute acromioclavicular trauma.


Acromioclavicular joint Rookwood classification Coracoclavicular ligament Ultrasound MRI 



The authors acknowledge the editorial assistance of Joanne Archambault, PhD. The scientific guarantor of this publication is Marie Faruch Bilfeld. The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies, whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article. The authors state that this work has not received any funding.

One of the authors has significant statistical expertise. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained. Written informed consent was waived by the Institutional Review Board. This was is a prospective study performed at one institution.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Faruch Bilfeld
    • 1
  • Franck Lapègue
    • 1
  • Hélène Chiavassa Gandois
    • 1
  • Marie Aurélie Bayol
    • 1
  • Nicolas Bonnevialle
    • 2
  • Nicolas Sans
    • 1
  1. 1.Service de RadiologieCHU Toulouse-PurpanToulouse Cedex 9France
  2. 2.Service d’OrthopédieCHU Toulouse-PurpanToulouse Cedex 9France

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