Scientific article

Epidemiology and imaging of the subchondral bone in articular cartilage repair

Published inKnee surgery, sports traumatology, arthroscopy, vol. 18, no. 4, p. 463-471
Publication date2010

Articular cartilage and the subchondral bone act as a functional unit. Following trauma, osteochondritis dissecans, osteonecrosis or osteoarthritis, this intimate connection may become disrupted. Osteochondral defects-the type of defects that extend into the subchondral bone-account for about 5% of all articular cartilage lesions. They are very often caused by trauma, in about one-third of the cases by osteoarthritis and rarely by osteochondritis dissecans. Osteochondral defects are predominantly located on the medial femoral condyle and also on the patella. Frequently, they are associated with lesions of the menisci or the anterior cruciate ligament. Because of the close relationship between the articular cartilage and the subchondral bone, imaging of cartilage defects or cartilage repair should also focus on the subchondral bone. Magnetic resonance imaging is currently considered to be the key modality for the evaluation of cartilage and underlying subchondral bone. However, the choice of imaging technique also depends on the nature of the disease that caused the subchondral bone lesion. For example, radiography is still the golden standard for imaging features of osteoarthritis. Bone scintigraphy is one of the most valuable techniques for early diagnosis of spontaneous osteonecrosis about the knee. A CT scan is a useful technique to rule out a possible depression of the subchondral bone plate, whereas a CT arthrography is highly accurate to evaluate the stability of the osteochondral fragment in osteochondritis dissecans. Particularly for the problem of subchondral bone lesions, image evaluation methods need to be refined for adequate and reproducible analysis. This article highlights recent studies on the epidemiology and imaging of the subchondral bone, with an emphasis on magnetic resonance imaging.

  • Arthroscopy
  • Bone Transplantation/ methods
  • Bone and Bones/ injuries/pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular/ injuries/pathology
  • Chondrocytes/ transplantation
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Orthopedic Procedures/methods
  • Osteoarthritis/epidemiology/pathology/radiography
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans/epidemiology/pathology/radiography
  • Osteonecrosis/epidemiology/pathology/radiography
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
Citation (ISO format)
MENETREY, Jacques et al. Epidemiology and imaging of the subchondral bone in articular cartilage repair. In: Knee surgery, sports traumatology, arthroscopy, 2010, vol. 18, n° 4, p. 463–471. doi: 10.1007/s00167-010-1053-0
Main files (1)
ISSN of the journal0942-2056

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