Experimental and clinical evaluation of acromioclavicular joint structures with new scan orientations in MRI

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The objective of the study was to evaluate MRI for visualization of acromioclavicular (ac) joint structures in cadaveric shoulders, asymptomatic volunteers and symptomatic patients with trauma of the ac-joint. Three cadaveric shoulders were examined to find adequate planes and sequences for MRI. Afterwards, MR images were correlated to corresponding anatomical sections. Six asymptomatic volunteers and 13 patients were scanned in a 1.5 T Magnetom Vision with three sequences in the following planes: (1) parallel to the clavicle; (2) orthogonal to the ac joint, each time a fat-suppressed proton density-weighted + T2-sequence (TR/TE 4,000/15 ms) was performed; (3) parallel to the clavicle, T1-SE (TR/TE 817/20 ms). The parameters were: slice thickness 3 mm, field-of-view 180 mm, matrix 210×256 pixels. Standard of reference in the patients was clinical examination and conventional X-rays. Classification was by Rockwood grades I-VI. MRI allowed excellent visualization and diagnoses of ac-joint structures in volunteers and patients (n=6 normal, n=1 Rockwood I, n=5 Rockwood II, n=3 Rockwood III, n=4 Rockwood V). On MRI, in one lesion type II and III each, a lower lesion type was suspected clinically and by X-ray. In one patient additional information by MRI led to surgery. MRI allows excellent anatomical display of ac-joint structures and can give clinically relevant information on type and extension of ac-joint trauma, which may influence therapy.

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