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Jpn J Radiol. 2011 Aug;29(7):466-74. doi: 10.1007/s11604-011-0583-9. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

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

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 981-8574, Japan.



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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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