Term of Award

Spring 1998

Degree Name

Master of Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

James McMillan

Committee Member 1

Don Ray Connell

Committee Member 2

W. Kent Guion

Committee Member 3

A. Barry Joiner


Eleven patients who had a clinical suspicion of a rotator cuff tear were referred for a magnetic resonance imaging exam, an arthrographic exam or both. Additionally, all patients received a diagnostic ultrasound exam. The results of the imaging studies were compared to surgical or clinical diagnosis. Arthrography had 100% positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity. Magnetic resonance imaging had 100% PPV, 60% NPV, 78% accuracy, 100% specificity, and 67% sensitivity. Ultrasound had 80% PPV, 50% NPV, 64% accuracy, 75% specificity, and 57% sensitivity. Based on these results, taking into consideration the national average costs of each study, no definitive recommendation can be made regarding the "best" diagnostic study. However, it is suggested that a strong clinical suspicion should be followed by a diagnostic ultrasound exam, the least expensive of the three procedures. Only if the ultrasound differs from the clinical suspicion should a more expensive, perhaps more invasive, procedure be performed.


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