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To compare short tau inversion recovery (STIR) and T1-weighted (T1w) gadolinium (Gd)-enhanced fat-suppressed MRI of bone marrow edema (BME) of the knee, and investigate the influence of injected contrast media volume and variation of major acquisition parameters on apparent BME volume and signal contrast.STIR and T1w Gd-enhanced fat-suppressed images were obtained from 30 patients with BME of the knee. Two groups of patients were examined with different MR scanners, acquisition parameters, and contrast media volumes. For both sequences, BME volume and signal contrast were assessed by computer-assisted quantification, and were compared through their arithmetic means and correlation coefficients (r2). The injected contrast media volume was also correlated with BME volume and signal contrast differences between sequences.A strong correlation between the STIR and Gd-enhanced T1w images was found for BME volume (r2 = 0.96-0.99) and BME signal contrast (r2 = 0.86-0.94). Despite the differences in MR acquisition parameters and injected contrast media volume, both sequences depicted an almost identical BME volume in both groups. Contrast media volume showed a moderate correlation (r2 = 0.40) with BME volume differences.STIR is the optimum method for determining the size and signal contrast of BME. The injected contrast media volume appears to have only a limited influence on apparent BME volume. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.