Multi-modal imaging of adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder

Marcello Zappia, Francesco Di Pietto, Alberto Aliprandi, Simona Pozza, Paola De Petro, Alessandro Muda, Luca Maria Sconfienza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: Adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder is a clinical condition characterized by progressive limitation of active and passive mobility of the glenohumeral joint, generally associated with high levels of pain. Although the diagnosis of adhesive capsulitis is based mainly on clinical examination, different imaging modalities including arthrography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance, and magnetic resonance arthrography may help to confirm the diagnosis, detecting a number of findings such as capsular and coracohumeral ligament thickening, poor capsular distension, extracapsular contrast leakage, and synovial hypertrophy and scar tissue formation at the rotator interval. Ultrasound can also be used to guide intra- and periarticular procedures for treating patients with adhesive capsulitis. Key Points: • Diagnosis of adhesive capsulitis is mainly based on clinical findings. • Imaging may be used to exclude articular or rotator cuff pathology. • Thickening of coracohumeral and inferior glenohumeral ligaments are common findings. • Rotator interval fat pad obliteration has 100 % specificity for adhesive capsulitis. • Ultrasound can be used to guide intra- and periarticular treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
JournalInsights into Imaging
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Adhesive capsulitis
  • Arthrography
  • Magnetic resonance
  • Shoulder
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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