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Injury. 2008 Apr;39 Suppl 1:S13-25. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2008.01.043.

Magnetic resonance imaging for diagnosis and assessment of cartilage defect repairs.

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Department of Traumatology, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, Vienna, Austria.


Clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the method of choice for the non-invasive evaluation of articular cartilage defects and the follow-up of cartilage repair procedures. The use of cartilage-sensitive sequences and a high spatial-resolution technique enables the evaluation of cartilage morphology even in the early stages of disease, as well as assessment of cartilage repair. Sequences that offer high contrast between articular cartilage and adjacent structures, such as the fat-suppressed, 3-dimensional, spoiled gradient-echo sequence and the fast spin-echo sequence, are accurate and reliable for evaluating intrachondral lesions and surface defects of articular cartilage. These sequences can also be performed together in reasonable examination times. In addition to morphology, new MRI techniques provide insight into the biochemical composition of articular cartilage and cartilage repair tissue. These techniques enable the diagnosis of early cartilage degeneration and help to monitor the effect and outcome of various surgical and non-surgical cartilage repair therapies.

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