Dynamic MR imaging and stress testing in glenohumeral instability: Comparison with normal shoulders and clinical/surgical findings
Our objectives were to test the hypotheses that: 1) during shoulder motion, glenohumeral alignment differs between asymptomatic shoulders and those with symptomatic instability; 2) during magnetic resonance (MR)-monitored physical exam or stress testing, glenohumeral alignment differs between asymptomatic shoulders and those with instability; and 3) glenohumeral translation during MR stress testing correlates with findings of shoulder instability by clinical exam and exam under anesthesia (EUA). Using an open-configuration 0.5 T MR imaging (MRI) system, we studied symptomatic shoulders in 11 subjects and compared them to their contralateral asymptomatic shoulders. Each shoulder was studied during abduction/adduction and internal/external rotation to determine the humeral head position on the glenoid. An examiner also performed the MR stress test on each shoulder by applying manual force on the humeral head during imaging. All shoulders were assigned an instability grade from the MR stress test, and this grade was correlated with: 1) clinical exam grade assigned during preoperative assessment by an orthopedic surgeon and 2) intraoperative instability grade by EUA immediately preceding arthroscopy. With dynamic abduction and internal/external rotation, the humeral head remained centered on the glenoid in 9 of 11 shoulders, but in two subjects there were dramatic demonstrations of subluxation. With stress testing, a trend toward more joint laxity was demonstrated in symptomatic than in asymptomatic joints (P = 0.11). MR grading of instability correlated directly with clinical grading in six cases and underestimated the degree of instability relative to clinical exam in the other cases. MR instability grading systematically underestimated instability compared with EUA in 7 of the 10 cases that underwent surgical repair. We concluded that dynamic MR evaluation of glenohumeral alignment did not demonstrate abnormalities in symptomatic shoulders in 8 of 10 patients, whereas 2 patients showed dramatic findings of subluxation. Manual stress testing during dynamic MR examination showed a strong correlation with clinical instability grading. Dynamic shoulder MR examination during stress testing could, with further validation, become a useful adjunct to shoulder instability evaluations. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2001;13:748–756. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.