Role of Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Evaluating Shoulder Injuries in the Athlete

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Summary:The introduction of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has added significantly to our ability to diagnose injuries about the shoulder in overhead athletes. In order to direct imaging, a thorough understanding of the types of injuries incurred, mechanism of injury, and a good history and physical examination are essential. Plain MR has added to our knowledge of these shoulder injuries but has certain limitations. To improve diagnostic accuracy, scans enhanced with intra-articular contrast are recommended. In addition, understanding what might be normal findings on MR scans is crucial to making the correct diagnosis. Various anatomic variants, image artifacts and normal degenerative changes can be misinterpreted as pathology-causing symptoms and lead to an incorrect diagnosis and inappropriate treatment.

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