Ultrasound Int Open 2017; 03(03): E107-E116
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-110473
Pictorial Essay
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

The Rotator Interval – A Link Between Anatomy and Ultrasound

Giorgio Tamborrini
1   Ultrasound Center, Rheumatology, Basel, Switzerland
7   EULAR Study Group on Anatomy for the Image
Ingrid Möller
2   Instituto Poal de Reumatologia, BCN Sonoanatomy group, Barcelona, Spain
7   EULAR Study Group on Anatomy for the Image
David Bong
3   BCN Sonoanatomy group, Rheumatology, Barcelona, Spain
7   EULAR Study Group on Anatomy for the Image
Maribel Miguel
4   Departamento de Patología y Terapéutica Experimental, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Christian Marx
1   Ultrasound Center, Rheumatology, Basel, Switzerland
Andreas Marc Müller
5   Orthopädie und Traumatologie, Universitatsspital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Magdalena Müller-Gerbl
6   Institute of Anatomy, Universitat Basel, Basel, Switzerland
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 11 August 2016
revised 24 February 2017

accepted 23 April 2017

Publication Date:
23 August 2017 (online)


Shoulder pathologies of the rotator cuff of the shoulder are common in clinical practice. The focus of this pictorial essay is to discuss the anatomical details of the rotator interval of the shoulder, correlate the anatomy with normal ultrasound images and present selected pathologies. We focus on the imaging of the rotator interval that is actually the anterosuperior aspect of the glenohumeral joint capsule that is reinforced externally by the coracohumeral ligament, internally by the superior glenohumeral ligament and capsular fibers which blend together and insert medially and laterally to the bicipital groove. In this article we demonstrate the capability of high-resolution musculoskeletal ultrasound to visualize the detailed anatomy of the rotator interval. MSUS has a higher spatial resolution than other imaging techniques and the ability to examine these structures dynamically and to utilize the probe for precise anatomic localization of the patient’s pain by sono-palpation.