Torn Rotator Cuff

Unknown Musculoskeletal Case 10


60 y/o with Shoulder pain.

Image Findings

The T1-weighted image shows a large spur along the inferior edge of the acromial-clavicular joint causing impingement of the superspinatus muscle. The proton-density and especially the T2-weighted image show abnormal increased signal in the rotator cuff tendon. An effusion is also seen in the joint space as well as in the subdeltoid bursae.


Tears of the rotator cuff are frequently associated with intermediate signal on T1-weighted images and increased signal on T2-weighted images. They may be associated with fluid in the subdeltoid-subacromion bursae, retraction of the superspinatous tendon, and atrophy of the muscle. Magic angle artifact may appear similar to a tear on T1-weighted and proton density images. The magic angle artifact will decrease or disappear on T2-weighted images, unlike tears.


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Last modified January 6, 1997