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Fast MR arthrography using VIBE sequences to evaluate the rotator cuff



The purpose of this paper was to evaluate if short volumetric interpolated breath-hold examination (VIBE) sequences can be used as a substitute for T1-weighted with fat saturation (T1-FS) sequences when performing magnetic resonance (MR) arthrography to diagnose rotator cuff tears.

Materials and methods

Eighty-two patients underwent direct MR arthrography of the shoulder joint using VIBE (acquisition time of 13 s) and T1-FS (acquisition time of 5 min) sequences in the axial and paracoronal plane on a 1.0-T MR unit. Two radiologists scored rotator cuff tendons on VIBE and T1-FS images separately as normal, small/large partial thickness and full thickness tears with or without geyser sign. T1-FS sequences were considered the gold standard. Surgical correlation was available in a small sample.


Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of VIBE were greater than 92% for large articular-sided partial thickness and full thickness tears. For detecting fraying and articular-sided small partial thickness tears, these parameters were 55%, 94%, 94%, and 57%, respectively. The simple kappa value was 0.76, and the weighted kappa value was 0.86 for agreement between T1-FS and VIBE scores. All large partial and full thickness tears at surgery were correctly diagnosed using VIBE or T1-FS MR images.


Fast MR arthrography of the shoulder joint using VIBE sequences showed good concordance with the classically used T1-FS sequences for the appearance of the rotator cuff, in particular for large articular-sided partial thickness tears and for full thickness tears. Due to its very short acquisition time, VIBE may be especially useful when performing MR arthrography in claustrophobic patients or patients with a painful shoulder.

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Correspondence to Jan E. Vandevenne.

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Vandevenne, J.E., Vanhoenacker, F., Mahachie John, J.M. et al. Fast MR arthrography using VIBE sequences to evaluate the rotator cuff. Skeletal Radiol 38, 669–674 (2009).

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  • MR arthrography
  • Shoulder joint
  • Rotator cuff
  • Gradient echo sequence