MR imaging of the labral-capsular complex: Normal variations

C. H. Neumann, S. A. Petersen, A. H. Jahnke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Understanding the normal anatomy of the shoulder and its variations is important for the proper interpretation of MR images. This study was performed to describe variations in the normal labral-capsular complex as seen on MR images. MR images of 52 shoulders in 30 asymptomatic volunteers and 27 shoulders of symptomatic patients who had subsequent arthroscopy and/or reconstructive surgery were obtained with 1.5-T MR. The 52 scans of the asymptomatic group were reviewed by three radiologists in conference, and the assessment of labral shapes and capsular insertions was done by consensus. The 27 MR scans of the shoulders in the symptomatic group were reviewed by one radiologist before and after the asymptomatic cases were interpreted. Differences in these two interpretations were shown on receiver-operating-characteristic curves by using the results of subsequent arthroscopy and surgery as the gold standard. The anterior and posterior parts of the labra, respectively, varied in shape but showed several dominant features: triangular (45%, 73%), round (19%, 12%), cleaved (15%, 0%), notched (8%, 0%), flat (7%, 6%), and absent (6%, 8%). Most capsules inserted anteriorly on the labrum (47%) or glenoid rim (49%). All posterior insertions were on the labrum (100%). Intrinsic labral signal was noted on proton density-weighted images, but never on T2-weighted images. Receiver-operating-characteristic curves from interpretations of the symptomatic and clinical cases made before and after evaluation of the asymptomatic shoulders showed the interpretations improved considerably after scans of asymptomatic volunteers were studied. Our study reveals a wide variability in the MR appearance of the labral-capsular complex in asymptomatic shoulders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1021
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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