Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been suggested to be of high accuracy at academic institutions in the identification of superior labral tears; however, many Type-II superior labral anterior-posterior (SLAP) lesions encountered during arthroscopy have not been previously diagnosed with noncontrast images. This study evaluated the accuracy of diagnosing Type-II SLAP lesions in a community setting with use of noncontrast MRI and analyzed the effect that radiologist training and the scanner type or magnet strength had on sensitivity and specificity.Methods:
One hundred and forty-four patients requiring repair of an arthroscopically confirmed Type-II SLAP lesion who had a noncontrast MRI examination performed within twelve months before the procedure were included in the sensitivity analysis. An additional 100 patients with arthroscopically confirmed, normal superior labral anatomy were identified for specificity analysis. The transcribed interpretations of the images by the radiologists were used to document the diagnosis of a SLAP lesion and were compared with the operative report. The magnet strength, type of MRI system (open or closed), and whether the radiologist had completed a musculoskeletal fellowship were also recorded.Results:
Noncontrast MRI identified SLAP lesions in fifty-four of 144 shoulders, yielding an overall sensitivity of 38% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 30%, 46%). Specificity was 94% (95% CI = 87%, 98%), with six SLAP lesions diagnosed in 100 shoulders that did not contain the lesion. Musculoskeletal fellowship-trained radiologists performed with higher sensitivity than those who had not completed the fellowship (46% versus 19%; p = 0.009).Conclusions:
Our results demonstrate a low sensitivity and high specificity in the diagnosis of Type-II SLAP lesions with noncontrast MRI in this community setting. Musculoskeletal fellowship-trained radiologists had significantly higher sensitivities in accurately diagnosing the lesion than did radiologists without such training. Noncontrast MRI is not a reliable diagnostic tool for Type-II SLAP lesions in a community setting.Level of Evidence:
Diagnostic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.