Conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination of the musculoskeletal system is limited to static evaluation of muscle, spine, and joint morphology. However, using the variety of contrast mechanisms available with MRI, it is possible to obtain functional and biomechanical data about the musculoskeletal system. The function of joints and muscles are for motion and weight bearing, so pathology that only occurs during activity can be missed on static MRI examination. Similarly, important information about muscle biomechanics, muscle energetics, and joint function can be obtained with unique MRI contrast such as T(2)-mapping, spectroscopy, blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) imaging, and molecular imaging. These new techniques hold the promise for a more complete and useful joint examination.
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