Cartilage Imaging in Sports Medicine

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using cartilage-sensitive sequences has been shown to be an accurate, noninvasive method by which to detect articular cartilage injury and early degeneration. These are important management considerations in an athletic population. The advantages of MRI include the lack of ionizing radiation, direct multiplanar capabilities and high-contrast resolution of articular soft tissue structures. The present review details imaging strategies for assessing cartilage in the athletic population, defines the normal MRI appearance of articular cartilage, and illustrates the spectrum of articular cartilage lesions seen in various joints of the body.

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