To arrive at a specific diagnosis, I will have taken a history (your story about your symptoms, their onset, and your injury, if any), examined you, and reviewed your x-rays. All the above are helpful in establishing a diagnosis. Some of these diagnoses are as follows:
A specific diagnosis of rotator cuff tendinitis or tear can usually be made from your history, examination, and x-rays. An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a test which is often quite helpful in establishing a diagnosis and differentiating between a tear and tendonitis of the rotator cuff. This test is done in a radiology department as an outpatient. An MRI uses a magnetic field and does not use x-rays radiation to give fairly accurate information about the status of the rotator cuff and other structures in and around the shoulder. Other diagnostic tests may be necessary to diagnosis shoulder conditions, and I will discuss any special test with you. Occasionally, I will recommend a MRI arthrograms in which fluid is injected into the shoulder prior to the MRI to highlight certain structures.