rotator cuff injuryShoulder injuries can be painful, chronic, and potentially debilitating. In certain circumstances, said maladies could be precipitated by damage to a region of the shoulder, known as the rotator cuff.  That said, diagnosing ailments to the shoulder often requires imaging evaluation with the aid of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

The Radiology Clinic, offering diagnostic services in Rockville, MD and surrounding areas, invites those dealing with shoulder pain to read the following blog highlighting pertinent information related to the rotator cuff and a few basic matters regarding the MRI process.

Rotator Cuff Overview

The biological structure situated within the shoulder is classified as a collection of muscles and soft tissues that connect the upper arm and shoulder socket. A properly functioning rotator cuff enables people to freely move their upper arms and shoulders.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Typically, the most common malady to impact the structure is tendinitis and tears. In many cases, tears are precipitated by repetitive overhead or strenuous motions of the shoulder. Additionally, age often increases someone’s risk of developing rotator cuff damage that ultimately results in symptomatic tears.

Potential Symptoms

Rotator cuff injuries often emerge gradually, and physical manifestations often include a dull but lasting ache deep inside the shoulder. Said discomfort may tend to worsen during an individual’s sleep cycle, especially if said individual sleeps on the impacted shoulder. Should the tear become more pronounced, the person in question might experience arm weakness and experience significant difficulty performing simple or common tasks necessitating movement on the impacted shoulder’s part.


As rotator cuff tears often occur deep inside the shoulder, they are often need a firm diagnosis that can be made with the aid of a high field MRI at The Radiology Clinic.

MRI Overview

An MRI is a machine that uses radio waves to capture images of bodily regions that are not easy to access to examine.

The Process

Individuals administered MRIs lie flat on their back and are placed in a tube that enables radio waves to travel through their body and enable the machine to capture pertinent inner body images.


Typically, there is no significant preparation required prior to the exam’s administration. Patients can usually eat several hours beforehand and ingest required medications in advance as well.


Typically, an MRI on the shoulder is said to last anywhere about 30 minutes or less.


In most cases, the results of the scan will be ready within 24 business hours after the test is performed.

Potential Treatment Options

If the test reveals a tear, different treatment options exist. The specific protocol a physician will choose to initiate will depend upon the severity of the tear. Smaller less significant tears can be treated with rest, the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, steroidal injections, and physical therapy. That said, moderate to severe tears may require surgical intervention. Surgery will then likely be followed by a significant duration of physical therapy.

Contacting Us

Those dealing with shoulder pain or other symptoms that might suggest a rotator cuff tear are encouraged to visit their doctors. Said medical professionals can perform a physical examination and, should they suspect a rotator cuff injury, may order an MRI that we can perform. For more information about our services, please visit or call us at 301-217-0500.