US depiction of partial-thickness tear of the rotator cuff

Radiology. 1995 Nov;197(2):443-6. doi: 10.1148/radiology.197.2.7480690.


Purpose: To test previously defined ultrasound (US) criteria for identification of partial-thickness tears of the rotator cuff.

Materials and methods: Before shoulder arthroscopy, 52 patients with shoulder pain for more than 3 months were examined with a 7.5-MHz commercially available linear-array transducer and a standardized study protocol. The criteria used to detect partial-thickness tears were (a) a mixed hyper- and hypoechoic focus in the crucial zone of the supraspinatus tendon and (b) a hypoechoic lesion visualized in two orthogonal imaging planes with either articular or bursal extension.

Results: The US findings were reported as partial-thickness tears in 17 shoulders, of which three were false-positive findings. There was one false-negative finding. The sensitivity of US in depiction of partial-thickness tears was 93%, and specificity was 94%. The positive predictive value was 82%, and the negative predictive value was 98%.

Conclusion: US can depict most partial-thickness tears with use of the criteria described.

MeSH terms

  • Acromion / diagnostic imaging
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroscopy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Joint Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Joint Diseases / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / diagnostic imaging
  • Pain / pathology
  • Rotation
  • Rotator Cuff / diagnostic imaging*
  • Rotator Cuff / pathology
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Shoulder Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Joint / pathology
  • Synovial Fluid / diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasonography