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Non-calcified tissues, including tendons, ligaments, adipose tissue and cartilage, are not visible, for any practical purposes, with conventional X-ray imaging. Therefore, any pathological changes in these tissues generally necessitate detection through magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound technology. Until recently the development of an X-ray imaging technique that could detect both bone and soft tissues seemed unrealistic. However, the introduction of diffraction enhanced X-ray imaging (DEI) which is capable of rendering images with absorption, refraction and scatter rejection qualities has allowed detection of specific soft tissues based on small differences in tissue densities. Here we show for the first time that DEI allows high contrast imaging of soft tissues, including ligaments, tendons and adipose tissue, of the human foot and ankle. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(3): 315–322, 2004)
Corresponding author: Carol Muehleman, PhD, Department of Anatomy, Rush Medical College, ACFAC507, 600 S Paulina, Chicago, IL 60612.