High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging of rotator cuff tears using a microscopy coil: noninvasive detection without intraarticular contrast material

  • Shin HitachiEmail author
  • Kei Takase
  • Minoru Tanaka
  • Yuichi Tojo
  • Shiro Tabata
  • Kazuhiro Majima
  • Shuichi Higano
  • Shoki Takahashi
Original Article



The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using a microscopy coil for the diagnosis of rotator cuff tears by comparing the method to conventional MRI and MRI arthrography.

Materials and methods

A total of 68 shoulders were prospectively studied using a 1.5-T MRI unit. Conventional MRI scans were obtained with a surface coil and high-resolution MRI scans with a microscopy coil. MRI arthrography was performed in 28 shoulders using a surface coil. MRI evaluation of tears of rotator cuff tendons was compared with arthroscopic findings and surgical results.


The surgery revealed 40 full-thickness tears, 13 partial-thickness tears, and 15 intact cuffs. In all, 35 (88%) full-thickness tears were correctly diagnosed on conventional MRI and 40 (100%) on high-resolution MRI. MR arthrography delineated 11 of 12 (92%) full-thickness tears. Altogether, 5 (38%) of the partial-thickness tears were detected on conventional MRI, and 12 (92%) were clearly demonstrated on high-resolution MRI. MRI arthrography depicted three (60%) of five partial-thickness tears. High-resolution MRI showed higher sensitivity than conventional MRI (P < 0.05) and had values equivalent to those of MRI arthrography for diagnosing partial-thickness tears.


High-resolution MRI with a microscopy coil is a feasible, noninvasive technique for diagnosing rotator cuff tears.

Key words

Shoulder Rotator cuff tear MRI Microscopy coil 


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Copyright information

© Japan Radiological Society 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shin Hitachi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kei Takase
    • 1
  • Minoru Tanaka
    • 2
  • Yuichi Tojo
    • 2
  • Shiro Tabata
    • 2
  • Kazuhiro Majima
    • 3
  • Shuichi Higano
    • 1
  • Shoki Takahashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic RadiologyTohoku University Graduate School of MedicineSendaiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryTakeda General HospitalAizuwakamatsuJapan
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyTakeda General HospitalAizuwakamatsuJapan

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