Q. Can rotator cuff tear be identified with MRI?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Shoyab
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 23, 2022

Hi doctor,

I have pain in my shoulder and cannot move easily. I also have numbness in my fingers and pain in my elbow. Will the MRI view suggest for rotator cuff tear?

Please help.



Welcome to

Thanks for addressing your queries to us. What I see on your MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is some high signal in the rotator interval. This is a combination of some ligaments that bind the arm to the shoulder (and others are intact). So this high signal represents a sprain of those ligaments and can explain your pain. There is also a high signal along with the long head of the biceps but no such appearance within the biceps tendon itself. In that case, I infer that this high signal also comes from the rotator interval sprain. According to my understanding, a sprain of the rotator cuff (instead of a tear) may be amenable without surgery, but the concerned specialists will make the definitive decision. Your shoulder x-ray shows no fracture or bony lesion. I wish you all the best.

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