Cartilage injury resulting in osteoarthritis is a frequent cause of disability in young people. Osteoarthritis, based on either cartilage injury or degeneration, is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Over the last several decades, much progress has been made in understanding cartilage injury and repair. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, with its unique ability to noninvasively image and characterize soft tissue, has shown promise in assessment of cartilage integrity. In addition to standard MR imaging methods, MR imaging contrast mechanisms under development may reveal detailed information regarding the physiology and morphology of cartilage. MR imaging will play a crucial role in assessing the success or failure of therapies for cartilage injury and degeneration.
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