OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of MR arthrography in the detection of articular cartilage and labral lesions of the glenohumeral joint using a transverse 3D water-excitation true fast imaging with steady-state precession (FISP) sequence. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seventy-five shoulders were included retrospectively. Shoulder arthroscopy was performed within 6 months of MR arthrography. MR images were evaluated separately by two radiologists. They were blinded to clinical and arthroscopic information. Arthroscopy served as the reference standard. RESULTS: For the detection of humeral cartilage lesions, sensitivities and specificities were 86% (12/14)/89% (50/56) for observer 1 and 93%/86% for observer 2) for the transverse true FISP sequence and 64%/86% (50%/82% for observer 2) for the coronal intermediate-weighted spin-echo images. The corresponding values for the glenoidal cartilage were 60% (6/10)/88% (51/58) (80%/76% for observer 2) and 70%/86% (60%/74% for observer 2) respectively. For the detection of abnormalities of the anterior labrum (only assessed on true FISP images) the values were 94% (15/16)/84% (36/43) (88%/79% for observer 2). The corresponding values for the posterior labrum were 67% (8/12)/77% (36/47) (observer 2: 25%/74%). The kappa values for the grading of the humeral and glenoidal cartilage lesions were 0.81 and 0.55 for true FISP images compared with 0.49 and 0.43 for intermediate-weighted fast spin-echo images. Kappa values for true FISP evaluation of the anterior and posterior part of the labrum were 0.81 and 0.70. CONCLUSION: Transverse 3D true FISP MR arthrography images are useful for the difficult diagnosis of glenohumeral cartilage lesions and suitable for detecting labral abnormalities.