Comprehensive Shoulder US Examination: A Standardized Approach with Multimodality Correlation for Common Shoulder Disease

Matthew H Lee, Scott E Sheehan, John F Orwin, Kenneth S Lee
Radiographics: a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc 2016, 36 (6): 1606-1627
Shoulder pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions encountered in primary care and specialty orthopedic clinic settings. Although magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is typically the modality of choice for evaluating the soft-tissue structures of the shoulder, ultrasonography (US) is becoming an important complementary imaging tool in the evaluation of superficial soft-tissue structures such as the rotator cuff, subacromial-subdeltoid bursa, and biceps tendon. The advantages of US driving its recent increased use include low cost, accessibility, and capability for real-time high-resolution imaging that enables dynamic assessment and needle guidance. As more radiologists are considering incorporating shoulder US into their practices, the development of a standardized approach to performing shoulder US should be a priority to facilitate the delivery of high-quality patient care. Familiarity with and comfort in performing a standardized shoulder US examination, as well as knowledge of the types of anomalies that can be evaluated well with US, will enhance the expertise of those working in musculoskeletal radiology practices and add value in the form of increased patient and health care provider satisfaction. This review describes the utility and benefits of shoulder US as a tool that complements MR imaging in the assessment of shoulder pain. A standardized approach to the shoulder US examination is also described, with a review of the basic technique of this examination, normal anatomy of the shoulder, common indications for shoulder US, and characteristic US findings of common shoulder diseases-with select MR imaging and arthroscopic correlation. Online supplemental material is available for this article. © RSNA, 2016.

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