MRI-detected osteophytes of the knee: Natural history and structural correlates of change

Zhaohua Zhu, Changhai Ding, Weiyu Han, Shuang Zheng, Tania Winzenberg, Flavia Cicuttini, Graeme Jones

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Backgroud: The natural history of semi-quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-detected osteophytes (MRI-detected OPs) has not been described and it is unknown whether knee structural abnormalities can predict MRI-detected OP change over time. Thus, the aim of current study is to describe the natural history of knee MRI-detected OP, and to determine if knee structural abnormalities are associated with change of MRI-detected OP in a longitudinal study of older adults. Methods: Randomly selected older adults (n = 837, mean age 63 years) had MRI at baseline and 413 of them had MRI 2.6 years later to measure MRI-detected OP, cartilage defects, cartilage volume, bone marrow lesions (BMLs), meniscal extrusion, infrapatellar fat pad (IPFP) quality score/maximum area and effusion-synovitis. Results: Over 2.6 years, average MRI-detected OP score increased significantly in all compartments. The total MRI-detected OP score remained stable in 53% of participants, worsened (≥ 1-point increase) in 46% and decreased in 1%. Baseline cartilage defects (RR, 1.25-1.35), BMLs (RR, 1.16-1.17), meniscal extrusion (RR, 1.22-1.33) and IPFP quality score (RR, 1.08-1.20) site-specifically and independently predicted an increase in MRI-detected OP (p values all ≤ 0.05), after adjustment for covariates. Presence of IPFP abnormality was significantly associated with increased MRI-detected OPs but became non-significant after adjustment for other structural abnormalities. Total (RR, 1.27) and suprapatellar pouch effusion-synovitis (RR, 1.22) were both associated with increased MRI-detected OPs in the lateral compartment only (both p < 0.04). Conclusion: Knee MRI-detected OPs are common in older adults and are likely to progress. The association between baseline structural abnormalities and worsening MRI-detected OPs suggest MRI-detected OP could be a consequence of multiple knee structural abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number237
Number of pages11
JournalArthritis Research and Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2018


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Natural history
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteophyte

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