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Official Journal of the Italian Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology

Virtual MR arthroscopy of the shoulder: image gallery with arthroscopic correlation of major pathologies in shoulder instability



The purpose of this study was to compare virtual MR arthroscopic reconstructions with arthroscopic images in patients affected by shoulder joint instability. MR arthrography (MR-AR) of the shoulder is now a well-assessed technique, based on the injection of a contrast medium solution, which fills the articular space and finds its way between the rotator cuff (RC) and the glenohumeral ligaments. In patients with glenolabral pathology, we used an additional sequence that provided virtual arthroscopy (VA) post-processed views, which completed the MR evaluation of shoulder pathology.

Materials and methods

We enrolled 36 patients, from whom MR arthrographic sequence data (SE T1w and GRE T1 FAT SAT) were obtained using a GE 0.5 T Signa—before any surgical or arthroscopic planned treatment; the protocol included a supplemental 3D, spoiled GE T1w positioned in the coronal plane. Dedicated software loaded on a work-station was used to elaborate VAs. Two radiologists evaluated, on a semiquantitative scale, the visibility of the principal anatomic structures, and then, in consensus, the pathology emerging from the VA images.


These images were reconstructed in all patients, except one. The visualization of all anatomical structures was acceptable. VA and MR arthrographic images were fairly concordant with intraoperative findings.


Although in our pilot study the VA findings did not change the surgical planning, the results showed concordance with the surgical or arthroscopic images.

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Correspondence to A. Stecco.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Stecco, A., Volpe, D., Volpe, N. et al. Virtual MR arthroscopy of the shoulder: image gallery with arthroscopic correlation of major pathologies in shoulder instability. J Orthopaed Traumatol 9, 187–193 (2008).

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  • 3D MR imaging
  • Magnetic resonance
  • MR arthrography
  • Virtual MR arthrography