Osteoarthritis: a review of strengths and weaknesses of different imaging options

Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2013 Aug;39(3):567-91. doi: 10.1016/j.rdc.2013.02.001. Epub 2013 Feb 23.


Slowing of radiographic joint space narrowing represents the only recommended imaging-based outcome measure to assess structural disease progression in osteoarthritis (OA) clinical trials. There are no effective disease-modifying OA drugs. The ability of magnetic resonance (MR) to image structures within the knee and to visualize cartilage morphology and composition gives MR imaging a critical role in understanding the natural history of the disease and in the search for therapies. In this article, the roles and limitations of conventional radiography and MR imaging, focusing on knee OA, and the use of other modalities in clinical practice and OA research are described.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthrography*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnosis*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Ultrasonography*