Quantitative diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging for the diagnosis of partial-thickness rotator cuff tears

Huan Chu Lo, Sheng Tsai Hung, Duen Pang Kuo, Yen Lin Chen, Hung Maan Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background This study investigated diffusion-weighted (DWI) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as an alternative to fat-suppressed T2-weighted imaging (FS-T2WI) for assessment of partial-thickness rotator cuff tears (RCTs). Methods Patients with arthroscopy proven partial-thickness RCTs who also received MRI (FS-T2WI and DWI) before surgery were prospectively included. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to compare DWI vs. FS-T2WI using lesion-to-muscle signal intensity ratios. A cutoff point for predicting partial-thickness tears was determined using the Youden index. Results Included were 146 patients, with a mean age of 48.3 years (range, 19-86 years), of whom 43 had full-thickness RCTs, 67 had partial-thickness RCTs, and 36 had no tears. Areas under receiver operating characteristic curves for diagnosing partial-thickness tears were significantly higher for DWI (0.910) than for FS-T2WI (0.822, P = .016). Lesion-to-muscle signal intensity ratio cutoff values were 1.06 for DWI vs. 1.65 for FS-T2WI, respectively. The sensitivity and accuracy of DWI (89.1% [98 of 110] and 87.7% [128 of 146], respectively) for diagnosing partial-thickness and full-thickness tears were higher than for FS-T2WI (65.5% [72 of 110] and 72.6% [106 of 146], respectively). FS-T2WI, however, had higher specificity (94.4% [34 of 36]) than DWI (83.3% [30 of 36]). Conclusions DWI is more accurate and sensitive than FS-T2WI for diagnosing partial-thickness RCTs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1433-1441
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffusion-weighted
  • fat-suppressed T2-weighted MRI
  • full-thickness tears
  • MR imaging
  • partial-thickness
  • rotator cuff tears

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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