To compare, in terms of their demonstration of tears of the anterior glenoid labrum, oblique axial MR arthrography obtained with the patient's shoulder in the abduction and external rotation (ABER) position, with conventional axial MR arthrography obtained with the patient's arm in the neutral position.
Materials and Methods
MR arthrography of the shoulder, including additional oblique axial sequences with the patient in the ABER position, was performed in 30 patients with a clinical history of recurrent anterior shoulder dislocation. The degree of anterior glenoid labral tear or defect was evaluated in both the conventional axial and the ABER position by two radiologists. Decisions were reached by consensus, and a three-point scale was used: grade 1=normal; grade 2=probable tear, diagnosed when subtle increased signal intensity in the labrum was apparent; grade 3=definite tear/defect, when a contrast material-filled gap between the labrum and the glenoid rim or deficient labrum was present. The scores for each imaging sequence were averaged and to compare conventional axial and ABER position scans, Student's t test was performed.
In 21 (70%) of 30 patients, the same degree of anterior instability was revealed by both imaging sequences. Eight (27%) had a lower grade in the axial position than in the ABER position, while one (3%) had a higher grade in the axial position. Three whose axial scan was grade 1 showed only equivocal evidence of tearing, but their ABER-position scan, in which a contrast material-filled gap between the labrum and the glenoid rim was present, was grade 3. The average grade was 2.5 (SD=0.73) for axial scans and 2.8 (SD=0.46) for the ABER position. The difference between axial and ABER-position scans was statistically significant (p<0.05).
MR arthrography with the patient's shoulder in the ABER position is more efficient than conventional axial scanning in revealing the degree of tear or defect of the anterior glenoid labrum. When equivocal features are seen at conventional axial MR arthrography, oblique axial imaging in the ABER position is helpful.