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01-01-2015 | Osteoarthritis | Book Chapter | Article

7. Imaging in Osteoarthritis

Authors: MD Peter Salat, MD David Salonen, MD Andrea N. Veljkovic

Publisher: Springer International Publishing


  • Imaging of osteoarthritis (OA) can be performed with many different imaging modalities, but, in the clinical setting, the most commonly used modality is radiography.
  • Radiographic manifestations of OA mirror the pathologic changes of the disease, but the technique has well-known limitations in detecting very early disease and monitoring progression.
  • The limitations of radiographic assessment of OA may be one of the reasons behind the failure of many past DMOAD development trials.
  • MRI allows assessment of all relevant tissues in a joint affected with OA and enables characterization of tissue changes on a biochemical level and the detection of the earliest pathologic alterations of OA.
  • The clinical utility of advanced MRI techniques is limited at present with most applications being experimental and increasingly applied in DMOAD development trials.
  • Computed tomography, ultrasound, and nuclear medicine imaging have a very limited role at present in the clinical assessment of OA, but research interest in these techniques is growing and may provide additional tools in the future.

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