Skeletal radiology

Quantitative assessment of the supraspinatus tendon on MRI using T2/T2* mapping and shear-wave ultrasound elastography: a pilot study.

PMID 27896400


To determine whether there is an association between T2/T2* mapping and supraspinatus tendon mechanical properties as assessed by shear-wave ultrasound elastography (SWE). This HIPAA-compliant prospective pilot study received approval from our hospital's institutional review board. Eight patients (3 males/5 females; age range 44-72 years) and nine shoulders underwent conventional shoulder MRI, T2/T2* mapping on a 3-T scanner, and SWE. Two musculoskeletal radiologists reviewed the MRI examinations in consensus for evidence of supraspinatus tendon pathology, with tear size measured for full-thickness tears. T2/T2* values and ultrasound shear-wave velocities (SWV) were calculated in three corresponding equidistant regions of interest (ROIs) within the insertional 1-2 cm of the supraspinatus tendon (medial, middle, lateral). Pearson correlation coefficients between T2/T2* values and SWV, as well as among T2, T2*, SWV and tear size, were calculated. There was a significant negative correlation between T2* and SWV in the lateral ROI (r = -0.86, p = 0.013) and overall mean ROI (r = -0.90, p = 0.006). There was significant positive correlation between T2 and measures of tear size in the lateral and mean ROIs (r range 0.71-0.77, p range 0.016-0.034). There was significant negative correlation between SWV and tear size in the middle and mean ROIs (r range -0.79--0.68, p range 0.011-0.046). Our pilot study demonstrated a potential relationship between T2* values and shear wave velocity values in the supraspinatus tendon, a finding that could lead to an improved, more quantitative evaluation of the rotator cuff tendons.