MRI of Superior Capsular Reconstruction

Radiographics. 2020 Mar-Apr;40(2):454-467. doi: 10.1148/rg.2020190074.


Massive irreparable rotator cuff tears can be a challenging problem for arthroscopists in the perioperative setting because the typical treatment, reverse total shoulder arthroplasty, may not be the best option for all patients. Superior capsular reconstruction (SCR) is an advancing treatment option for patients with rotator cuff tears that are neither amenable to primary repair nor ideal for arthroplasty. Patient selection, which is strongly dependent on preoperative imaging findings, is an important step in obtaining favorable surgical outcomes. The tissue quality and tear type are particularly important when considering SCR for a patient. When unsuccessful SCR is suspected, postoperative MRI of the shoulder offers the surgeon and radiologist a means of evaluating the integrity and fixation of the graft. Fluid-sensitive MRI sequences are best for examining the final SCR construct, with high-signal-intensity fluid interruptions within the graft and the presence or worsening of shoulder arthropathy indicating graft failure. The indications for SCR are discussed, and the normal postoperative MRI findings after SCR are described in this review. In addition, the common types of SCR graft failure and associated imaging findings are described and illustrated. ©RSNA, 2020.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty
  • Arthroscopy
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Patient Selection
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging*
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries / surgery*