Inflammatory arthritis-like and other MR findings in wrists of asymptomatic subjects

Skeletal Radiol. 2006 Oct;35(10):754-64. doi: 10.1007/s00256-006-0095-3. Epub 2006 Mar 14.


Objective: To describe magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings in the wrists of asymptomatic subjects that might be confused with pathologic findings.

Design: MR examination of the dominant wrist was performed in 30 asymptomatic volunteers aged 22-49 years using pre-contrast and post-contrast sequences in the coronal and axial planes. The bases of the metacarpals, the carpus and the distal radius and ulna were evaluated by two musculoskeletal radiologists for lesions, notches, blood vessels and synovial enhancement.

Results: There were 24 bright osseous lesions (erosions, intraosseous ganglia, oedema or cysts) in 14 subjects. Intraosseous blood vessels were seen in all but one wrist examined, most commonly in the capitate and lunate bones. Enhancement was present in 26 of 27 notches identified at the base of the second metacarpal and less commonly in the capitate, hamate and triquetral notches. A small joint effusion was present in 14 subjects. Joint or soft-tissue enhancement was identified in 16 wrists.

Conclusions: Many MR abnormalities and variants may be detected in the wrists of asymptomatic subjects. Many of these could be confused with pathologic findings usually associated with inflammatory arthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contrast Media
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnosis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnosis
  • Reference Values
  • Wrist Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Wrist Joint / pathology*


  • Contrast Media