Advanced MRI techniques can be used to detect changes in joint cartilage microstructure, enabling early diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA), according to a new study.
Through this method, clinicians will be able to shift the treatment of the disease from joint reconstruction to long-term preservation, according to researchers at the NYU Langone Medical Center in the US.
Laith Jazrawi, Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and lead author of the study, said: “Imaging technology is now sensitive and powerful enough to enable detection of subtle changes in the intricate balance of water, chondrocytes and the collagen fibers and protein molecules that make up our joint cartilage – which we now know can point to future osteoarthritis”.
The newly developed techniques have “opened up a new window into the understanding and possible treatment of arthritis before irreversible structural and morphological changes has occurred”, commented members of the Department of Radiology at the NYU Medical Center.
The study has been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.