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OBJECTIVE—To assess the correlation between the presence of radiographically diagnosed osteophytes in the tibiofemoral joint (TFJ) and (1) magnetic resonance (MR) detected cartilage defects and meniscal lesions in the same joint and (2) knee pain.
METHODS—Fifty nine people, 29 men and 30 women, with chronic knee pain (aged 41-58 years, mean 50 years) were examined with posteroanterior weightbearing radiograms in semiflexion of both TFJ. The presence and grade of marginal and central osteophytes were assessed. On the same day, an MR examination was performed of the signal knee with proton density and T2 weighted turbo spin-echo sequences on a 1.0 T imager. Cartilage defects and meniscal abnormalities in the TFJ were noted. The subjects were questioned for current knee pain for each knee.
RESULTS—Marginal osteophytes had a sensitivity of 77%, specificity of 83%, and positive predictive value of 87% for MR detected cartilage defects in the TFJ and a sensitivity of 71%, specificity of 68%, and positive predictive value of 71% for meniscal abnormalities. A correlation (p<0.05) between osteophytes at the medial tibial condyle and knee pain was found.
CONCLUSIONS—With the presence of marginal osteophytes in the TFJ there is a high prevalence of MR detected cartilage defects in the same joint whether joint space narrowing (<3 mm) is present or not.
Keywords: knee; radiogram; osteoarthritis; osteophyte