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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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  • radiography:
    • calcification where the cuff inserts on the greater tuberosity is commonly seen in chronic tendinitis
    • erosion of the acromium process and a high riding humeral head may be seen in a long standing tear
    • osteoarthritis of the acromioclavicular joint - common finding in older patients

  • ultrasonography
  • MRI - effective for visualising inflammation and tears
  • arthroscopy - permits diagnosis and treatment

Notes (1):

  • ultrasound and MRI scanning are the two most useful investigations in diagnosis of rotator cuff impingement pathology

Sensitivity (%)

Specificity (%)

Clinical Examination






Magnetic resonance imaging



Magnetic resonance arthrography




  • 1) Arthritis Research Campaign (2010). Topical reviews - managing rotator cuff tears.

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