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Radiology in osteoarthritis

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Characteristic changes of OA are:

  • joint space narrowing - focal cartilage loss
  • subchondral sclerosis - increased trabecular thickness
  • bone cysts
  • osteophytes about the joint margins - central, marginal, periosteal
  • osteochondral "loose" bodies - islands of chondral metaplasia that have ossified

In the initial stages of OA the first three features are restricted to the load-bearing part of the osteoarthritic joint. In more advanced disease all five features are present on non-weight bearing and weight-bearing parts of the joint.

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