MRI or MRA? Which is Better For Assessing Rotator Cuff Tears?In this study researchers compared standard MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) findings with MRA (magnetic resonance arthrography) for rotator cuff tears. The goal was to see if MRA gives better information than the regular MRI.
MRA is a newer imaging method. A very weak acid solution is injected into the joint capsule. The fluid acts as a contrast agent to show any tears or damage to the rotator cuff. The MRA takes detailed pictures of the tissues without using X-rays.
All patients in the study had shoulder surgery to repair full thickness rotator cuff tears. Each patient had an MRI and an MRA done before the operation. During the operation, the surgeon recorded the direction, type, and size of the tear.
The MRI findings and MRA findings were compared with the surgical results. MRA findings were more specific and sensitive compared to MRI.
The results of this study suggest MRA is a better tool than MRI for helping surgeons select the best surgical treatment. Knowing the size, shape, and type of rotator cuff tear in advance helps the surgeon plan ahead.
Hiromitsu Toyoda, MD, et al. Evaluation of Rotator Cuff Tears with Magnetic Resonance Arthrography. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. October 2005. Vol. 439. Pp. 109-115.
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