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.