Osteoarthropathy versus osteomyelitis: does magnetic resonance imaging help?

KA NaftulinPresbyterian/St Luke's Medical Center, Denver, USA.

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PA StonePresbyterian/St Luke's Medical Center, Denver, USA.

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JJ McGarryPresbyterian/St Luke's Medical Center, Denver, USA.

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Osteomyelitis and osteoarthropathy may appear clinically and radiographically similar. Many retrospective and some prospective studies have shown that magnetic resonance imaging provides valuable information about the pathologic basis of disease, specifically in the differentiation of osteomyelitis from osteoarthropathy. Although culture and biopsy of bone are the definitive diagnostic procedure, this may not always be possible. Magnetic resonance imaging can be used as an adjunct to help plan treatment protocols.