Subchondral cysts (geodes) in arthritic disorders: pathologic and radiographic appearance of the hip joint

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1977 May;128(5):799-806. doi: 10.2214/ajr.128.5.799.


A comprehensive study of femoral heads of patients and cadavers with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis, and calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate deposition disease allows insight into the radiographic and pathologic appearance of subchondral radiolucencies in these disorders. The term geode, rather than cyst or pseudocyst, may be a more appropriate decription of these lesions. In osteoarthritis, goedes occur on the pressure segment of the femoral head in association with loss of articular space; in rheumatoid arthritis, they are initially noted at the chondro-osseous junction and subsequently involve the entire femoral head. In osteonecrosis, geodes appear in the necrotic segment of the femoral head. In calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease, geodes resemble those in osteoarthritis but are larger, more numerous, and more widespread.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arthritis / pathology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Bone Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bone Diseases / pathology
  • Calcium Metabolism Disorders / complications
  • Calcium Metabolism Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Calcium Pyrophosphate / metabolism
  • Cysts / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cysts / pathology
  • Femur Head / diagnostic imaging*
  • Femur Head Necrosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur Head Necrosis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Radiography


  • Calcium Pyrophosphate