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Cartilage. 2018 Jul;9(3):223-236. doi: 10.1177/1947603517710309. Epub 2017 Jun 5.

Understanding Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Knee Cartilage Repair: A Focus on Clinical Relevance.

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1 Quantitative Imaging Center, Department of Radiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
2 Department of Radiology, Yale New Haven Health at Bridgeport Hospital, Bridgeport, CT, USA.
3 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
4 Department of Radiology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.
5 Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-Guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


The aims of this review article are (a) to describe the principles of morphologic and compositional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques relevant for the imaging of knee cartilage repair surgery and their application to longitudinal studies and (b) to illustrate the clinical relevance of pre- and postsurgical MRI with correlation to intraoperative images. First, MRI sequences that can be applied for imaging of cartilage repair tissue in the knee are described, focusing on comparison of 2D and 3D fast spin echo and gradient recalled echo sequences. Imaging features of cartilage repair tissue are then discussed, including conventional (morphologic) MRI and compositional MRI techniques. More specifically, imaging techniques for specific cartilage repair surgery techniques as described above, as well as MRI-based semiquantitative scoring systems for the knee cartilage repair tissue-MR Observation of Cartilage Repair Tissue and Cartilage Repair OA Knee Score-are explained. Then, currently available surgical techniques are reviewed, including marrow stimulation, osteochondral autograft, osteochondral allograft, particulate cartilage allograft, autologous chondrocyte implantation, and others. Finally, ongoing research efforts and future direction of cartilage repair tissue imaging are discussed.


articular cartilage; cartilage repair; knee; magnetic resonance imaging; radiology

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