An MR imaging-based technique for three-dimensional determination of subacromial space width in relation to the rotator cuff in arm abduction is presented. Five volunteers were examined in an open MRI in seven arm positions, and coronal images were obtained with a gradient-echo sequence. 3D reconstruction of the bones and the supraspinatus was performed, and the minimal spatial distances between acromion, clavicle, and humerus were calculated. The closest contact between the supraspinatus and the anterior inferior part of the acromion occurred at 90 degrees abduction in internal rotation. The technique presented allows investigation of the morphological basis of the impingement syndrome.
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