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Skeletal Radiol. 1996 Oct;25(7):629-34.

MR arthrography of elbow: evaluation of the ulnar collateral ligament of elbow.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury of the elbow in throwing athletes by MRI and MR arthrography.


Ten elbows of throwing athletes were examined on both plain MRI and MR saline arthrography and the injuries subsequently surgically proven. Spin-echo (SE) T1-weighted and fast SE T2-weighted coronal images were obtained.


The UCL was unclear in all ten cases on T1-weighted MRI. In five cases an avulsion fracture was also found on T1-weighted MRI. On T2-weighted MRI, abnormal high-intensity areas were identified in or around the UCL. On T2-weighted MR arthrography images, extracapsular high-intensity areas, which represent extracapsular leakage, were found in four of five cases with avulsion fracture. At surgery, all these four cases showed avulsion fractures with instability; the other case had a fracture but it was stable and adherent to the humerus. On T2-weighted MR arthrography images, an extracapsular high-intensity area was found in one of the five cases without avulsion fracture. At surgery this patient had a complete tear of the UCL itself.


MR arthrography provided additional information for evaluating the degree of UCL injury.

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