Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the inter- and intra-observer reliability of the interpretation of magnetic resonance images (MRI) for supraspinatus tendinosis.
Methods: In the inter-observer trial three observers on the inter-observer trial for one occasion reviewed the MRI images of the 52 athletes' shoulders on one occasion within two months of each other. The most experienced musculoskeletal radiologist read all 52 images on three different occasions on separate days without access to the previous readings for the intra-observer trial. Supraspinatus tendinosis was graded using a modified four-point scale from grade 0 to grade 3.
Results: The grading of MRI-determined supraspinatus tendinosis was very reliable intra-class correlation (ICC = 0.85) when assessed by a single well-trained observer. The inter-observer reliability was only fair to good (ICC = 0.55).
Conclusions: Supraspinatus tendinosis can be accurately identified at MRI with little variation by a single well-trained observer. Inter-observer reliability was only fair to good. Our data indicated the reliability of the assessment was much greater in more experienced radiologists than in those with less experience.
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