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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Oct;21(10):1425-35. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2013.07.010. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

Osteoarthritis year 2013 in review: imaging.

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Department of Radiology, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA, USA. Electronic address:



To review recent original research publications related to imaging of osteoarthritis (OA) and identify emerging trends and significant advances.


Relevant articles were identified through a search of the PubMed database using the query terms "OA" in combination with "imaging", "radiography", "MRI", "ultrasound", "computed tomography", and "nuclear medicine"; either published or in press between March 2012 and March 2013. Abstracts were reviewed to exclude review articles, case reports, and studies not focused on imaging using routine clinical imaging measures.


Initial query yielded 932 references, which were reduced to 328 citations following the initial review. MRI (118 references) and radiography (129 refs) remain the primary imaging modalities in OA studies, with fewer reports using computed tomography (CT) (35 refs) and ultrasound (23 refs). MRI parametric mapping techniques remain an active research area (33 refs) with growth in T2*- and T1-rho mapping publications compared to prior years. Although the knee is the major joint studied (210 refs) there is interest in the hip (106 refs) and hand (29 refs). Imaging continues to focus on evaluation of cartilage (173 refs) and bone (119 refs).


Imaging plays a major role in OA research with publications continuing along traditional lines of investigation. Translational and clinical research application of compositional MRI techniques is becoming more common driven in part by the availability of T2 mapping data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI). New imaging techniques continue to be developed with a goal of identifying methods with greater specificity and responsiveness to changes in the joint, and novel functional neuroimaging techniques to study central pain. Publications related to imaging of OA continue to be heavily focused on quantitative and semiquantitative MRI evaluation of the knee with increasing application of compositional MRI techniques in the hip.


CT; Imaging; MRI; Osteoarthritis; Radiography; Review; Ultrasound

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