Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is frequently used in the assessment of patients with shoulder pain. Occasionally, physicians will obtain a repeat MRI of a shoulder that has not had surgical intervention. The purpose of this study was to determine whether repeat shoulder MRI is diagnostically efficacious. All shoulder MRIs (1252 studies) performed at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) over a 5-year period were retrospectively reviewed. Patients with a surgical intervention prior to repeat MRI were excluded. A total of 19 patients with 22 repeat shoulder MRIs (1.8% of all shoulder MRIs) were identified. The initial and repeat shoulder MRI findings were compared to determine whether a change in pathology could be detected. In 12 (54%) repeat shoulder MRIs studied, significant progression of pathology was noted. The initial MRI did not depict a rotator cuff tear in 17 patients, while subsequent MRI was remarkable for a cuff tear in 8 (47%) of these patients. Furthermore, of the 12 patients demonstrating considerable progression of disease, 4 (33%) had a repeat shoulder MRI within 90 days. The results of the study demonstrate that MRI is an effective modality for detecting shoulder pathology. In select cases in which the findings may be unremarkable, repeat shoulder MRI may be indicated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine