Magnetic resonance imaging of rotator cuff disease and external impingement

Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am. 2012 May;20(2):187-200, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.mric.2012.01.011. Epub 2012 Feb 14.


Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging plays a major role in helping to identify rotator cuff disease and in demonstrating the pathology associated with external impingement. Many surgeons rely on MR imaging to assist in decision making and presurgical planning for patients with rotator cuff pain. This article reviews the etiology of external impingement and rotator cuff tears, and describes the MR imaging appearance of the normal and the pathologic rotator cuffs. It focuses on the supraspinatus tendon because this is the tendon involved in 95% of rotator cuff tears.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / trends*
  • Muscular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Rotator Cuff / pathology*
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries*
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Tendon Injuries / diagnosis*