Magnetic resonance imaging ofarticular cartilage injuries of the knee

David A. Rubin, Richard J. Herzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a widely available, powerful imaging modality in the United States that has rapidly become a mainstay for evaluation of the musculoskeletal system, largely because of its unparalleled depiction of most osseous and soft-tissue pathology. The application of MRI to detect cartilage injuries has evolved to the point where it is possible to noninvasively diagnose cartilage lesions that previously required an invasive examination, eg, arthrography or arthroscopy. However, successful cartilage imaging requires knowledge of the unique technical considerations and limitations of MRI. In this chapter we review current state-of-the-art knee MRI for three groups of chondral disorders: acute osteochondral fractures, osteochondritis dissecans, and degenerative lesions. The role of MRI in osteochondral fractures includes the demonstration of purely chondral intra-articular fragments and the identification of associated injuries, especially previously unrecognized subchondral bruises. MRI may also play a role in surveillance for osteochondral sequelae after injury. For osteochondritis dissecans, MRI can provide evidence supporting the diagnosis of a loose fragment and may aid in the evaluation of cartilage overlying osteochondral defects. Current MRI techniques can show moderate and severe lesions of chondromalacia and chondrosis. Newer techniques show potential for diagnosing these degenerative conditions at earlier stages when the changes are mild. We review these issues and provide examples showing the MRI appearance of common articular injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
JournalOperative Techniques in Sports Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1995


  • MRI
  • cartilage
  • knee


Dive into the research topics of 'Magnetic resonance imaging ofarticular cartilage injuries of the knee'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this