CLINICAL IMPACT OF MR ARTHROGRAPHY OF THE SHOULDER

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Abstract

Purpose:

To evaluate the effect of MR arthrography of the shoulder on diagnostic thinking and therapeutic decisions by orthopedic shoulder surgeons.

Material and Methods:

Orthopedic surgeons completed a questionnaire before and after MR arthrography for 73 consecutive patients. The main indications were suspected rotator cuff abnormalities. The clinical diagnosis, the degree of confidence in this diagnosis, and the therapeutic decision were noted before and after MR imaging. Surgical reports were available for 34 patients.

Results:

Thirty-four percent of the pre-MR imaging diagnoses were withdrawn after MR imaging, and new diagnoses were made after MR imaging in 13% of the cases. Confidence in the diagnosis increased significantly after MR imaging for supraspinatus and infraspinatus lesions (p<0.05). Changes of therapeutic decision after MR imaging were noted in 36 of the 73 patients (49%). In 23 patients, more invasive therapeutic procedures were initiated after MR imaging, and a more conservative treatment was implemented for 13 patients. Agreement of MR diagnoses with surgery was 94% for supraspinatus tears, 87% for infraspinatus tears, 77% for subscapularis tears, and 81% for biceps tendon lesions. Agreement of clinical diagnoses with surgery was 56%, 83%, 50%, and 64%, respectively.

Conclusion:

MR arthrography of the shoulder has a major effect on diagnostic thinking and therapeutic decisions by orthopedic shoulder surgeons.

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