Objective: Research has shown that 15-30% of adults experience shoulder pain at some point during the course of their lives. The sensitivity and specificity of musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) have been validated, showing that this tool can complement surgical findings and magnetic resonance imaging. We report ultrasound findings of patients with shoulder pain in rheumatological daily practice. Methods: The subject population for this retrospective study included 240 patients complaining of shoulder pain at the MSUS department of our rheumatology service between January 2010 and December 2012. The ultrasound examination included views of the rotator cuff, the long head of the biceps tendon, the subacromial-subdeltoid bursa, the acromioclavicular joint, and the glenohumeral joint. Results: Of the 240 patients, 140 were women and 100 were men, with ages ranging from 17 to 89 years and a mean age of 54.31 ± 14.64 years. Alterations of shoulder structures were detected in the supraspinatus tendon (76.2%), biceps tendon (62.4%), subscapularis tendon (22.9%), glenohumeral joint (20.4%), acromioclavicular joint (15.3%), subacromial-subdeltoid bursa (13.3%), and infraspinatous tendon (9.2%). Impingement (14.1%) and calcifications (8.2%) were also detected. Eight patients (3.3%) exhibited no sonographic evidence of any alteration. The sensitivity of the technique was confirmed by the finding of alterations in 96.7% of the cases. Conclusion: Although physical examination allows for a diagnostic approach in the treatment of shoulder pain, the technique is typically not accurate enough to ensure that the correct diagnosis is made. MSUS offered the precision necessary to detect the underlying pathology in 97% of the cases.
- Musculoskeletal ultrasound
- painful shoulder