Osteoarthritis is characterised by
a degeneration of cartilage and
the underlying bone; © SXC
A recent study done by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) shows that tomosynthesis may be more beneficial in diagnosing knee osteoarthritis than X-ray imaging.
In the study tomosynthesis detected more osteophytes (abnormal bony spurs) and subchondral cysts (small collection of fluid within the bone) in the knee joint than conventional X-ray imaging.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is characterised by a degeneration of cartilage and the underlying bone and other soft tissues in the joints, leading to pain and stiffness. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting approximately 26.9 million Americans.
Osteoarthritis can be diagnosed clinically, from symptoms and physical examinations, or by taking and evaluating images. While X-ray imaging has commonly been used to diagnose the disease, recent research has shown that it is less accurate than Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). However, while MRI provides higher-quality images, it is much more expensive than X-rays and cannot be routinely used in daily clinical practice. CT scan is another imaging technique that can provide detailed images of the joint, but it exposes patients to higher doses of radiation than X-rays.
"Despite the known limitation of X-ray imaging, it is widely used to diagnosis knee osteoarthritis, both in terms of daily clinical practice and also for clinical research studies," said Daichi Hayashi, research instructor.
The team examined 40 participants (80 knees), all over the age of 40, who were recruited irrespective of knee pain or an X-ray diagnosis of osteoarthritis. The knees were imaged using X-ray, tomosynthesis and MRI. The presence of osteophytes and subchondral cysts were recorded, and knee pain was assessed for each participant based on a questionnaire.
"This study shows that the images obtained through tomosynthesis are significantly better than those from X-rays and could potentially be a better diagnostic tool for knee osteoarthritis in patients with knee pain," said Hayashi. "While tomosynthesis has not been widely used in imaging of bones and joints to date, the results of our study show that using tomosynthesis to detect knee osteoarthritis can be effective."
REHACARE.de; Source: Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM)