The role of imaging in osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a complex whole-organ disorder that involves molecular, anatomic, and physiologic derangement. Advances in imaging techniques have expanded the role of imaging in evaluating osteoarthritis and functional changes. Radiography, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography (CT), and ultrasonography are commonly used imaging modalities, each with advantages and limitations in evaluating osteoarthritis. Radiography comprehensively analyses alignment and osseous features, while MRI provides detailed information about cartilage damage, bone marrow edema, synovitis, and soft tissue abnormalities. Compositional imaging derives quantitative data for detecting cartilage and tendon degeneration before structural damage occurs. Ultrasonography permits real-time scanning and dynamic joint evaluation, whereas CT is useful for assessing final osseous detail. Imaging plays an essential role in the diagnosis, management, and research of osteoarthritis. The use of imaging can help differentiate osteoarthritis from other diseases with similar symptoms, and recent advances in deep learning have made the acquisition, management, and interpretation of imaging data more efficient and accurate. Imaging is useful in monitoring and predicting the prognosis of osteoarthritis, expanding our understanding of its pathophysiology. Ultimately, this enables early detection and personalized medicine for patients with osteoarthritis. This article reviews the current state of imaging in osteoarthritis, focusing on the strengths and limitations of various imaging modalities, and introduces advanced techniques, including deep learning, applied in clinical practice.
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