Osteoarthritis year in review 2021: imaging

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2022 Feb;30(2):226-236. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2021.11.012. Epub 2021 Nov 24.


Purpose: To provide a narrative review of original articles on imaging of osteoarthritis (OA) published between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, with a special focus on imaging of inflammation, imaging of bone, cartilage and bone-cartilage interactions, imaging of peri-articular tissues, imaging scoring methods for OA, and artificial intelligence (AI) applied to OA imaging.

Methods: The Embase, Pubmed, Medline, Cochrane databases were searched for original research articles in the English language on human, in vivo, imaging of OA published between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Search terms related to osteoarthritis combined with all imaging modalities and artificial intelligence were applied. A selection of articles reporting on one of the focus topics was discussed further.

Results: The search resulted in 651 articles, of which 214 were deemed relevant to human OA imaging. Among the articles included, the knee joint (69%) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (52%) were the predominant anatomical area and imaging modality studied. There were also a substantial number of papers (n = 46) reporting on AI applications in the field of OA imaging.

Conclusion: Imaging continues to play an important role in the assessment of OA. Recent advances in OA imaging include quantitative, non-contrast, and hybrid imaging techniques for improved characterization of multiple tissue processes in OA. In addition, an increasing effort in AI techniques is undertaken to enhance OA imaging acquisition and analysis.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Imaging; Osteoarthritis; Review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnostic imaging*