Bone marrow edema-like lesions change in volume in the majority of patients with osteoarthritis; associations with clinical features

Eur Radiol. 2007 Dec;17(12):3073-8. doi: 10.1007/s00330-007-0711-1. Epub 2007 Sep 7.


It has been suggested that bone marrow edema-like (BME) lesions in the knee are associated with progression of osteoarthritis (OA). The purpose of our study in patients with OA was to evaluate prospectively changes of BME lesions over 2 years and their relationship with clinical features. Magnetic resonance (MR) images of the knee were obtained from 182 patients (20% male; aged 43-76 years; mean age 59 years) who had been diagnosed with familial symptomatic OA at multiple joint sites. MR images were made at baseline and at 2 years follow-up. BME lesions in 2 years were associated with clinical features assessed by Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) scores. A total of 327 BME lesions were recorded. Total size of BME lesions changed in 90 patients (66%). Size of individual lesions changed in 147 foci (45%): new lesions appeared in 69 (21%), existing lesions disappeared in 32 (10%), increased in size in 26 (8%) and decreased in size in 20 (6%) lesions. Increase or decrease of BME lesions, over a 2-year time period, was not associated with severity of WOMAC scores. BME lesions fluctuated in the majority of patients with OA over a 2-year time period. These changes were not associated with severity of WOMAC scores at the study end point.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Marrow Diseases / pathology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Disease Progression
  • Edema / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors