Magnetic resonance imaging is the optimal modality for assessing articular cartilage because of superior soft tissue contrast, direct visualization of articular cartilage, and multiplanar capability. Despite these advantages, there has been disagreement as to the efficacy of magnetic resonance imaging of articular cartilage. The reason for this controversy is multifactorial but in part is attributable to the lack of the use of optimized pulse sequences for articular cartilage. The current authors will review the current state of the art of magnetic resonance imaging of articular cartilage and cartilage repair procedures, discuss future new directions in imaging strategies and methods being developed to measure cartilage thickness and volume measurements, and propose a magnetic resonance imaging protocol to evaluate cartilage that is achievable on most magnetic resonance scanners, vendor independent, practical (time and cost efficient), and accepted and used by a majority of musculoskeletal radiologists.
From the *Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH; **The Royal Liverpool University Hospitals, Liverpool and the Grosvenor Nuffield Hospital, Chester, UK; † Radiology Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, MA; ‡ Commonwealth Radiology and Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; § Stanford University and the Palo Alto VA Department of Radiology, Stanford, CA; the ∥ Division of Health Sciences and Technology, MIT, Boston, MA; the ¶ Institut for CT and MRI, Schillerpark, Rainerstr, 6-8, 4020 Linz, Austria; # Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA; †† Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; and ‡‡ Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.
Reprints request to Michael Recht, MD, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Department of Radiology, A-21, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195.