Diagnostic Imaging of Shoulder Anatomy
Diagnostic imaging is useful when evaluating injuries to the shoulder. Typically, an x-ray is first obtained to confirm that there is no fracture of the shoulder bones. Proper alignment of the shoulder joint and AC joint can also be assessed. Xrays also show if there is narrowing of the joint space between the ball and socket as well as the presence of bone spurs, consistent with shoulder arthritis.
A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) shows the soft tissues of the shoulder, unlike an Xray. An MRI shows in high definition the tendons, muscles, cartilage, and ligaments of the shoulder as well as the bones. Rotator cuff tears, labral tears, impingement, and bicep tendon tears are all seen on an MRI.