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What is the predictive value of MRI for the occurrence of knee replacement surgery in knee osteoarthritis?

Abstract

Knee osteoarthritis is associated with structural changes in the joint. Despite its many drawbacks, radiography is the current standard for evaluating joint structure in trials of potential disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs. MRI is a non-invasive alternative that provides comprehensive imaging of the whole joint. Frequently used MRI measurements in knee osteoarthritis are cartilage volume and thickness; others include synovitis, synovial fluid effusions, bone marrow lesions (BML) and meniscal damage. Joint replacement is considered a clinically relevant outcome in knee osteoarthritis; however, its utility in clinical trials is limited. An alternative is virtual knee replacement on the basis of symptoms and structural damage. MRI may prove to be a good alternative to radiography in definitions of knee replacement. One of the MRI parameters that predicts knee replacement is medial compartment cartilage volume/thickness, which correlates with radiographic joint space width, is sensitive to change, and predicts outcomes in a continuous manner. Other MRI parameters include BML and meniscal lesions. MRI appears to be a viable alternative to radiography for the evaluation of structural changes in knee osteoarthritis and prediction of joint replacement.

  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Outcomes research

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