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Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Articular Cartilage

Abstract

Magnetic resonance imaging is the optimal modality for assessing articular cartilage because of superior soft tissue contrast, direct visualization of articular cartilage, and multiplanar capability. Despite these advantages, there has been disagreement as to the efficacy of magnetic resonance imaging of articular cartilage. The reason for this controversy is multifactorial but in part is attributable to the lack of the use of optimized pulse sequences for articular cartilage. The current authors will review the current state of the art of magnetic resonance imaging of articular cartilage and cartilage repair procedures, discuss future new directions in imaging strategies and methods being developed to measure cartilage thickness and volume measurements, and propose a magnetic resonance imaging protocol to evaluate cartilage that is achievable on most magnetic resonance scanners, vendor independent, practical (time and cost efficient), and accepted and used by a majority of musculoskeletal radiologists.

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