European Radiology

, Volume 14, Issue 10, pp 1761–1769

Imaging features of intraosseous ganglia: a report of 45 cases


  • H. J. Williams
    • Department of RadiologyRoyal Orthopaedic Hospital
    • Department of RadiologyRoyal Orthopaedic Hospital
  • G. Allen
    • Department of RadiologyRoyal Orthopaedic Hospital
  • N. Evans
    • Department of RadiologyRoyal Orthopaedic Hospital
  • D. C. Mangham
    • Department of PathologyRoyal Orthopaedic Hospital

DOI: 10.1007/s00330-004-2371-8

Cite this article as:
Williams, H.J., Davies, A.M., Allen, G. et al. Eur Radiol (2004) 14: 1761. doi:10.1007/s00330-004-2371-8


The aim of this study is to report the spectrum of imaging findings of intraosseous ganglia (IG) with particular emphasis on the radiographic and magnetic resonance (MR) features. Forty-five patients with a final diagnosis of IG were referred to a specialist orthopaedic oncology service with the presumptive diagnosis of either a primary or secondary bone tumour. The diagnosis was established by histology in 25 cases. In the remainder, the imaging features were considered characteristic and the lesion was stable on follow-up radiographic examination. Radiographs were available for retrospective review in all cases and MR imaging in 29. There was a minor male preponderance with a wide adult age range. Three quarters were found in relation to the weight-bearing long bones of the lower limb, particularly round the knee. On radiographs all were juxta-articular and osteolytic; 74% were eccentric in location, 80% had a sclerotic endosteal margin and 60% of cases showed a degree of trabeculation. Periosteal new bone formation and matrix mineralization were not present. Of the 29 cases that underwent MR imaging, 66% were multiloculated. On T1-weighted images the IG contents were isointense or mildly hypointense in 90% cases. Forty-one per cent of the cases showed a slightly hyperintense rim lining that enhanced with a gadolinium chelate. Thirty-eight per cent were associated with soft tissue extension and 17% with a defect of the adjacent articular cortex. Fifty-five per cent showed surrounding marrow oedema on T2-weighted or STIR images and two cases (7%) a fluid-fluid level prior to any surgical intervention. The authors contend that it is semantics to differentiate between an IG and a degenerate subchondral cyst as, while the initial pathogenesis may vary, the histological endpoint is identical, as are the imaging features apart from the degree of associated degenerative joint disease. IGs, particularly when large, may be mistaken for a bone tumour. Correlation of the typical radiographic and MR imaging features will indicate the correct diagnosis and obviate the need for biopsy.


Intraosseous ganglionSubchondral cystMR imaging

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© Springer-Verlag 2004