MR imaging in osteoarthritis: hardware, coils, and sequences

Radiol Clin North Am. 2009 Jul;47(4):617-32. doi: 10.1016/j.rcl.2009.04.002.


Whole-organ assessment of a joint with osteoarthritis (OA) requires tailored MR imaging hardware and imaging protocols to diagnose and monitor degenerative disease of the cartilage, menisci, bone marrow, ligaments, and tendons. Image quality benefits from increased field strength, and 3.0-T MR imaging is used increasingly for assessing joints with OA. Dedicated surface coils are required for best visualization of joints affected by OA, and the use of multichannel phased-array coils with parallel imaging improves image quality and/or shortens acquisition times. Sequences that best show morphologic abnormalities of the whole joint include intermediate-weighted fast-spin echo sequences. Also quantitative sequences have been developed to assess cartilage volume and thickness and to analyze cartilage biochemical composition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthrography / instrumentation
  • Arthrography / methods
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / instrumentation
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Joints / pathology*
  • Ligaments, Articular / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Menisci, Tibial / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology*
  • Tendons / pathology