Advances in Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Articular Cartilage

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J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 19, No 7, July 2011 Laith M. Jazrawi, MD, Michael J. Alaia, MD, Gregory Chang, MD, Erin F. FitzGerald, MD and Michael P. Recht, MD The pathology, assessment, and management of articular cartilage lesions of the hip and knee have been the subject of considerable attention in the recent orthopaedic literature. MRI has long been an important tool in the diagnosis and management of articular cartilage pathology, but detecting and interpreting early cartilaginous degeneration with this technology has been difficult. Biochemical-based MRI has been advocated to detect early cartilaginous degenerative changes and assess cartilage repair. Techniques such as T2 mapping, T1rho (ie, T1 in the rotating frame), sodium MRI, and delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage (dGEMRIC) take advantage of changes in the complex biochemical composition of articular cartilage and may help detect morphologic cartilaginous changes earlier than does conventional MRI. Although the newer modalities have been used primarily in the research setting, their ability to assess the microstructure of articular cartilage may eventually enhance the diagnosis and management of osteoarthritis.

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