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Ann Rheum Dis. Jul 1998; 57(7): 395–400.
PMCID: PMC1752672

Correlation between radiographically diagnosed osteophytes and magnetic resonance detected cartilage defects in the patellofemoral joint


OBJECTIVE—To assess the correlation between radiographically diagnosed osteophytes in the axial and lateral view of the patellofemoral joint (PFJ) and (1) magnetic resonance (MR) detected cartilage defects in the same joint and (2) knee pain.
METHODS—Fifty seven pepole with chronic knee pain, (aged 41-58 years, mean 50 years) were examined with axial and lateral radiograms when standing of the right and the left PFJ. The presence and grade of osteophytes was assessed. On the same day, a MR examination was performed of the signal knee with proton density and T2 weighted turbo spin-echo sequences in the sagittal and axial view on a 1.0 T imager. Cartilage defects in the PFJ were noted. The subjects were questioned for current knee pain for each knee.
RESULTS—Osteophytes at the PFJ had a specificity varying between 59 and 100% and a positive predictive value between 74 and 100% for MR detected cartilage defects. The corresponding values for osteophytes at the lateral aspect of the femoral trochlea were both 100%. In PFJ with narrowing (<5 mm) osteophytes had a sensitivity and a positive predictive value of 90 and 95% respectively for MR detected cartilage defects, while in PFJ with non-narrowing ([gt-or-equal, slanted]5 mm) the corresponding values were 75 and 65% and the specificity was 50%. A correlation (p<0.05) between osteophytes at the inferior pole of the patella and knee pain was found.
CONCLUSIONS—Osteophytes at the PFJ are associated with MR detected cartilage defects in the same joint. The relation was strong for osteophytes at the lateral femoral trochlea and in the PFJ with narrowing (<5 mm), but weak in the PFJ with non-narrowing ([gt-or-equal, slanted]5 mm).

Keywords: knee; radiograms; osteoarthritis; osteophyte

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Selected References

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Figures and Tables

Figure 1
(A) The axial radiogram of the right patellofemoral joint in a 55 year old man with an osteophyte of grade 2 at the medial aspect of the patella (arrow), as well as at the medial and lateral aspects of the femoral trochlea. The minimal ...
Figure 2
(A) The axial radiogram of the left patellofemoral joint in a 58 year old woman with osteophytes of grade 1 at all joint margins. The joint space width in the this view was 8 mm medially and 6 mm laterally. The corresponding ...
Figure 3
(A) The lateral radiogram of the right patellofemoral joint in a 57 year old woman with an osteophyte at the inferior and superior pole of the patella (arrows). The joint space width in the axial view of the same joint was 6 mm medially ...

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