Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Reliability of MRI assessment of supraspinatus tendinopathy
  1. Mya Lay Sein1,
  2. Judie Walton1,
  3. James Linklater2,
  4. Craig Harris2,
  5. Tej Dugal2,
  6. Richard Appleyard1,
  7. Brent Kirkbride3,
  8. Donald Kuah3,
  9. George A C Murrell1
  1. 1Orthopaedic Research Institute, University of New South Wales, St George Hospital, Sydney,New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Castlereagh Imaging, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3New South Wales Institute of Sport, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor G A C Murrell
 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, St George Hospital Campus, University of New South Wales, Kogarah, Sydney 2217, New South Wales, Australia;admin{at}


Objective: To determine the interobserver and intraobserver reliability of the interpretation of MRIs for supraspinatus tendinosis.

Methods: In the interobserver trial, the MRIs of 52 athletes’ shoulders were observed by 3 observers on one occasion within a 2-month period. All 52 images were read by the most experienced musculoskeletal radiologist on 3 different occasions on separate days without access to the previous readings for the intraobserver trial. Supraspinatus tendinosis was graded using a modified 4-point scale from grades 0 to grade 3.

Results: The grading of MRI-determined supraspinatus tendinosis was reliable, having an intraclass correlation (ICC) of 0.85 when assessed by the single well-trained observer. Interobserver reliability was only fair to good (ICC = 0.55).

Conclusions: Supraspinatus tendinosis can be accurately identified on MRI with little variation by a single well-trained observer. Interobserver reliability was only fair to good. Our data indicated that the reliability of the assessment was much greater in more experienced radiologists than in those with less experience.

  • ICC, intraclass correlation
  • PD, proton density

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Published Online First 5 February 2007

  • Competing interests: None declared.