MRI effective at predicting knee replacement

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be a better tool for defining structural damage in knee osteoarthritis than x-ray, according to a large international study.

Looking at data from nearly 4,800 people with or at risk of knee OA, researchers found MRI-assessed structural damage was an accurate predictor of later knee replacement.

Risk for joint replacement within a year was increased 16-fold if the knee exhibited two or more subregions with severe cartilage loss on MRI.

There was also a substantially higher risk for knees with bone marrow lesions in more than two subregions and