MR imaging of urgent inflammatory and infectious conditions affecting the soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system

Emerg Radiol. 2009 Jul;16(4):267-76. doi: 10.1007/s10140-008-0786-2. Epub 2009 Jan 9.


Soft tissue infections and inflammatory conditions of the musculoskeletal system are a group of disorders commonly seen by emergency room physicians and radiologists. Many of these entities can either be limb- or life-threatening. Magnetic resonance imaging is currently the best imaging modality to evaluate these conditions. In this review, the characteristic imaging findings of cellulitis, abscess formation, necrotizing fasciitis, pyomyositis, diabetic ischemic infarction, acute and exertional compartment syndromes, and rhabdomyolysis will be emphasized as well as imaging factors that can help to differentiate these disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / diagnosis
  • Cellulitis / diagnosis
  • Compartment Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Contrast Media
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Emergencies*
  • Fasciitis, Necrotizing / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnosis
  • Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Rhabdomyolysis / diagnosis
  • Soft Tissue Infections / diagnosis*


  • Contrast Media