Magnetic resonance (MR) arthrography is increasingly replacing conventional MR imaging for many clinical indications in the shoulder. It is particularly useful in providing additional information about structures which form the labral-ligamentous complex, an important stabiliser of the shoulder. These structures are the fibrocartilaginous glenoid labrum, the glenohumeral ligaments, and the long head of the biceps tendon. The MR arthrographic technique is reviewed, together with anatomical considerations, including normal variants, relating to the labral-ligamentous complex. Lesions such as glenoid labral tears, SLAP lesions, glenohumeral ligament tears, loose bodies and paraglenoid cysts can be demonstrated. In summary, MR arthrography is a useful imaging technique that provides detailed information about the labral-ligamentous complex, particularly when surgery is being contemplated.
Shoulder instability is a frequently encountered clinical problem in young active people following injury, particularly in athletes. The labral-ligamentous complex is increasingly recognised as being an important structural component that contributes to shoulder instability.
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