The diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasonography in gluteal tendon tears--a systematic review

Hip Int. Nov-Dec 2011;21(6):637-45. doi: 10.5301/HIP.2011.8759.


Gluteal tendon tears are one of the many pathologies causing pain around the greater trochanter that are often labelled as trochanteric bursitis. We systematically reviewed the peer-reviewed literature to establish the accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasonography in the diagnosis of gluteal tendon tears in patients with persistent lateral hip pain or Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS). 7 studies met the inclusion criteria, comparing either imaging modality with a reference standard of surgical findings. Included studies were assessed for methodological quality using the QUADAS checklist. MRI had sensitivity of 33-100%, specificity of 92-100%, positive predictive value of 71-100% and negative predictive value of 50%. False-positives were common. High signal located superior to the trochanter had a stronger association with tears. Ultrasonography had a sensitivity of 79-100% and positive predictive value of 95-100%. The amount and quality of literature on the subject is limited and further well-designed studies are required to establish the optimum diagnostic strategy in this condition. Ultrasonography may prove to be the investigation of choice, despite requiring a skilled practitioner. The orthopaedic surgeon should liaise with an experienced musculoskeletal radiologist to best investigate and diagnose gluteal tendon tears in the clinical picture of GTPS.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Buttocks
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Hip Joint
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rupture
  • Tendon Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Ultrasonography / methods*