Detection and quantification of rotator cuff tears with ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging - a prospective study in 77 consecutive patients with a surgical reference

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2010 Dec;36(12):1981-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2010.09.001. Epub 2010 Oct 20.


The aim of this study was to compare the accuracy of ultrasonography (US) and magnetic resonance artrography (MRA) for the detection and measurement of rotator cuff tears, using surgical findings as a standard. A total of 77 consecutive patients with suspected rotator cuff tears were prospectively studied with US and MRA. Rotator cuff tears were identified by US with sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive and negative predictive values of 92%, 45%, 91% and 50%, respectively, and by MRA with values of 97%, 82%, 97% and 82%, respectively. US was not reliable for differentiating between partial and full thickness tears. US and MRA underestimated the tear sizes by an average of 15 mm and 4 mm, respectively. Our results suggest that US could be used as a screening test to confirm a suspected rotator cuff tear. In patients with negative findings, an MRA should be considered for substantiation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aprotinin
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Rotator Cuff / diagnostic imaging*
  • Rotator Cuff / pathology
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Shoulder Joint / pathology
  • Ultrasonography


  • Aprotinin