Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Musculoskeletal Infections: Systematic Diagnostic Assessment and Key Points

Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 601 North Caroline Street, Baltimore, MD 21287.
Academic radiology (Impact Factor: 1.75). 08/2012; 19(11):1434-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.acra.2012.05.022
Source: PubMed


Prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential in preventing the complications of musculoskeletal infection. In this context, imaging is often used to confirm clinically suspected diagnoses, define the extent of infection, and ensure appropriate management. Because of its superior soft-tissue contrast resolution, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the modality of choice for evaluating musculoskeletal infections. This article describes the MRI features along the full spectrum of musculoskeletal infections and provides several illustrative case examples.

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    • "MRI is an essential part of the clinical diagnostic routine in acute injury, musculoskeletal disease, pathologies of the brain such as stroke or neurodegenerative disease, detection and staging of cancer, and in cardiac imaging. However, for the diagnosis of infectious disease, both bacterial and viral, its application is limited and it is primarily used to detect local inflammation, edema formation and other manifestations of the immune response, but not to detect the infectious agent directly or follow the spread of metastatic infections [1] [2] [3]. This lack of application is astonishing, since infectious disease is still one of the major unsolved problems in health care worldwide. "
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