MR findings in knee osteoarthritis

Eur Radiol. 2003 Jun;13(6):1370-86. doi: 10.1007/s00330-002-1554-4. Epub 2002 Aug 1.


Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of disability. Recent advances in drug discovery techniques and improvements in understanding the pathophysiology of osteoarthritic disorders have resulted in an unprecedented number of new therapeutic agents. Of all imaging modalities, radiography has been the most widely used for the diagnosis and management of the progression of knee OA. Magnetic resonance imaging is a relatively recent technique and its applications to osteoarthritis have been limited. Compared with conventional radiography, MR imaging offers unparalleled discrimination among articular soft tissues by directly visualizing all components of the knee joint simultaneously and therefore allowing the knee joint to be evaluated as a whole organ. In this article we present the MR findings in knee OA including cartilage abnormalities, osteophytes, bone edema, subarticular cysts, bone attrition, meniscal tears, ligament abnormalities, synovial thickening, joint effusion, intra-articular loose bodies, and periarticular cysts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Cysts / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Femur / pathology
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / pathology*
  • Ligaments, Articular / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology*
  • Patella / pathology
  • Tibia / pathology