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MRI ROTATOR CUFF SUPRASPINATUS OR INFRASPINATUS TEAR? How to differentiate supraspinatus from the infraspinatus tendons at their insertion:


  • Today’s video in our Online Learn MSK MRI series is on MRI of the Shoulder and we will be looking at a problem people have with MRI of the rotator cuff tendons… How to differentiate supraspinatus from the infraspinatus tendon at their insertion.
  • The problem is that there is no plane between supraspinatus and infraspinatus as they insert into the greater tuberosity and it can get confusing trying to work out is it a supraspinatus tear or an infraspinatus tear on MRI. 
  • So when you see a rotator cuff tear on MRI how do you work out which tendon is involved?
  • In Today’s 5 minute video, we will be looking at how to differentiate on MRI supraspinatus from infraspinatus tendons at their insertion.

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You need to use the anatomy of the facets of the greater tuberosity to help you. The greater tuberosity has 3 facets, Horizontal, Oblique and Vertical.


Supraspinatus inserts onto the horizontal facet particularly the anterior 2/3rds.


Infraspinatus inserts onto the Oblique Facet and a variable amount onto the posterior 1/3rd of the horizontal facet.


The posterior 1/3rd of the horizontal facet is the region where the fibres of SST and IST mix, the conjoint tendon area.


See the video to have a full explanation of it.

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