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US and MR Imaging of Pectoralis Major Injuries

During the past 2 decades, the frequency of pectoralis major muscle injuries has increased in association with the increased popularity of bench press exercises. Injury of the pectoralis major can occur at the muscle origin, muscle belly, musculotendinous junction, intratendinous region, and/or humeral insertion—with or without bone avulsion. The extent of the tendon injury ranges from partial to complete tears. Treatment may be surgical or conservative, depending on the clinical scenario and anatomic characteristics of the injury. The radiologist has a critical role in the patient’s treatment—first in detecting and then in characterizing the injury. In this article, the authors review the normal anatomy and anatomic variations of the pectoralis major muscle, classifications and typical patterns of pectoralis major injuries, and associated treatment considerations. The authors further provide an instructive guide for ultrasonographic (US) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging evaluation of pectoralis major injuries, with emphasis on a systematic approach involving the use of anatomic landmarks. After reviewing this article, the reader should have an understanding of how to perform—and interpret the findings of—US and MR imaging of the pectoralis major. The reader should also understand how to classify pectoralis major injuries, with emphasis on the key findings used to differentiate injuries for which surgical management is required from those for which nonsurgical management is required. Familiarity with the normal but complex anatomy of the pectoralis major is crucial for performing imaging-based evaluation and understanding the injury findings.