Weight-bearing MRI of the Lumbar Spine: Technical Aspects.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has an established role in the assessment of degenerative musculoskeletal conditions. However, conventional supine MRI findings often correlate poorly with clinical findings. Some patients experience accentuated back pain in the weight-bearing position. Therefore, supine MRI may underestimate the severity of degenerative spine findings. To try and improve the clinical validity of spine imaging, axial loading devices have been used with conventional supine MR imaging to simulate loading of the upright spine. More recently, upright weight-bearing MRI systems (0.25-0.6 T) were introduced, allowing images to be obtained in the standing or seated weight-bearing position and even during upright flexion or extension, rotation, or bending. Some scanners even enable capturing of real-time spinal movement. This review addresses the technical aspects and potential challenges of weight-bearing MRI, both in clinical practice and research.

Weight-bearing MRI of the Lumbar Spine: Spinal Stenosis and Spondylolisthesis.

Symptoms of degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis include back pain, radiculopathy, claudication, and muscular fatigue that tend to be predominant in the standing position or during walking. Lumbar spondylolisthesis is also a well-known cause of spinal stenosis, lateral recess, and neural foraminal narrowing that tends to become more severe in the upright position. This indicates a functional positional component of both spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. Lumbar spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis are typically evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed in the supine position with a pillow under the patient’s lower limbs that slightly flexes the lumbar spine and ameliorates symptoms. Because these two entities tend to be aggravated in the upright position, it seems rational to also consider performing diagnostic imaging in these patients in the upright position. This article reviews the use of weight-bearing MRI for lumbar spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis.

Early development of tendinopathy in humans: Sequence of pathological changes in structure and tissue turnover signalling.

Overloading of tendon tissue with resulting chronic pain (tendinopathy) is a common disorder in occupational-, leisure- and sports-activity, but its pathogenesis remains poorly understood. To investigate the very early phase of tendinopathy, Achilles and patellar tendons were investigated in 200 physically active patients and 50 healthy control persons. Patients were divided into three groups: symptoms for 0-1 months (T1), 1-2 months (T2) or 2-3 months (T3). Tendinopathic Achilles tendon cross-sectional area determined by ultrasonography (US) was ~25% larger than in healthy control persons. Both Achilles and patellar anterior-posterior diameter were elevated in tendinopathy, and only later in Achilles was the width increased. Increased tendon size was accompanied by an increase in hypervascularization (US Doppler flow) without any change in mRNA for angiogenic factors. From patellar biopsies taken bilaterally, mRNA for most growth factors and tendon components remained unchanged (except for TGF-beta1 and substance-P) in early tendinopathy. Tendon stiffness remained unaltered over the first three months of tendinopathy and was similar to the asymptomatic contra-lateral tendon. In conclusion, this suggests that tendinopathy pathogenesis represents a disturbed tissue homeostasis with fluid accumulation. The disturbance is likely induced by repeated mechanical overloading rather than a partial rupture of the tendon.

Dual-Energy CT for Suspected Radiographically Negative Wrist Fractures: A Prospective Diagnostic Test Accuracy Study.

In this prospective study, dual-energy CT and MRI had a similarly high sensitivity and specificity in helping detect radiographically negative wrist fractures. Dual-energy CT had a high sensitivity and a moderate specificity in the detection of bone marrow edema of the wrist. Dual-energy CT had high sensitivity and specificity in depicting fractures of the wrist in patients with suspected wrist fractures and negative findings on radiographs.

Predictors of joint damage progression and stringent remission in patients with established rheumatoid arthritis in clinical remission.

Baseline MRI osteitis and tenosynovitis were independent predictors of 2 year MRI damage progression in RA patients in clinical remission, while independent predictors of radiographic damage progression were age and gender. Following an MRI treat-to-target strategy, low scores of patient-reported outcomes and low tender joint count predicted achievement of stringent remission.

Sports Imaging of Team Handball Injuries.

Team handball is a fast high-scoring indoor contact sport with > 20 million registered players who are organized in > 150 federations worldwide. The combination of complex and unique biomechanics of handball throwing, permitted body tackles and blocks, and illegal fouls contribute to team handball ranging among the four athletic sports that carry the highest risks of injury. The categories include a broad range of acute and overuse injuries that most commonly occur in the shoulder, knee, and ankle. In concert with sports medicine, physicians, surgeons, physical therapists, and radiologists consult in the care of handball players through the appropriate use and expert interpretations of radiography, ultrasonography, CT, and MRI studies to facilitate diagnosis, characterization, and healing of a broad spectrum of acute, complex, concomitant, chronic, and overuse injuries. This article is based on published data and the author team’s cumulative experience in playing and caring for handball players in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain. The article reviews and illustrates the spectrum of common handball injuries and highlights the contributions of sports imaging for diagnosis and management.

Quantitative Imaging in Inflammatory Arthritis: Between Tradition and Innovation.

Radiologic imaging is crucial for diagnosing and monitoring rheumatic inflammatory diseases. Particularly the emerging approach of precision medicine has increased the interest in quantitative imaging. Extensive research has shown that ultrasound allows a quantification of direct signs such as bone erosions and synovial thickness. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (CT) contribute to the quantitative assessment of secondary signs such as osteoporosis or lean mass loss. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), using different techniques and sequences, permits in-depth evaluations. For instance, the perfusion of the inflamed synovium can be quantified by dynamic contrast-enhanced imaging or diffusion-weighted imaging, and cartilage injury can be assessed by mapping (T1ρ, T2). Furthermore, the increased metabolic activity characterizing the inflammatory response can be reliably assessed by hybrid imaging (positron emission tomography [PET]/CT, PET/MRI). Finally, advances in intelligent systems are pushing forward quantitative imaging. Complex mathematical algorithms of lesions’ segmentation and advanced pattern recognition are showing promising results.