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J Ultrasound. 2012 Feb;15(1):7-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jus.2011.12.001. Epub 2012 Jan 15.

US appearance of partial-thickness supraspinatus tendon tears: Application of the string theory. Pictorial essay.

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Leonardo da Vinci Medical Imaging, Paris, France.


in English, Italian

The supraspinatus tendon is composed of 5 different layers consisting of intertwining bundles. On a front portion of the tendon, the layers become coated bundles which insert on the trochanter. At the insertion, the superficial or bursal surface of the tendon corresponding to the tendon fibers in contact with the subacromial bursa can be distinguished from the deep surface corresponding to the fibers in contact with the glenohumeral joint. A tendon tear may involve partial or total disruption of the tendon fibers and is called full-thickness tear if it affects the entire tendon, and partial-thickness tear if it involves only part of the tendon. Partial-thickness tears of the supraspinatus tendon include lesions of the superficial, deep and central surface or tendon delamination.A contrast enhanced examination requires injection of contrast agent into the joint (arthrography followed by computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)) to study the deep surface, and injection into the subacromial bursa (bursography followed by CT) to study the superficial surface. MRI and ultrasound (US) examination allow the study of these different tendon layers without the use of contrast agent (which is not possible at CT).


Lesions; Shoulder; Sonography; Tendons

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