Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 43, Issue 10, pp 1429–1445 | Cite as

T2* mapping for articular cartilage assessment: principles, current applications, and future prospects

  • Tobias Hesper
  • Harish S. Hosalkar
  • Daniela Bittersohl
  • Götz H. Welsch
  • Rüdiger Krauspe
  • Christoph Zilkens
  • Bernd Bittersohl
Review Article


With advances in joint preservation surgery that are intended to alter the course of osteoarthritis by early intervention, accurate and reliable assessment of the cartilage status is critical. Biochemically sensitive MRI techniques can add robust biomarkers for disease onset and progression, and therefore, could be meaningful assessment tools for the diagnosis and follow-up of cartilage abnormalities. T2* mapping could be a good alternative because it would combine the benefits of biochemical cartilage evaluation with remarkable features including short imaging time and the ability of high-resolution three-dimensional cartilage evaluation—without the need for contrast media administration or special hardware. Several in vitro and in vivo studies, which have elaborated on the potential of cartilage T2* assessment in various cartilage disease patterns and grades of degeneration, have been reported. However, much remains to be understood and certain unresolved questions have become apparent with these studies that are crucial to the further application of this technique. This review summarizes the principles of the technique and current applications of T2* mapping for articular cartilage assessment. Limitations of recent studies are discussed and the potential implications for patient care are presented.


Magnetic resonance imaging T2* mapping Cartilage Review 


Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© ISS 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Hesper
    • 1
  • Harish S. Hosalkar
    • 2
  • Daniela Bittersohl
    • 1
  • Götz H. Welsch
    • 3
  • Rüdiger Krauspe
    • 1
  • Christoph Zilkens
    • 1
  • Bernd Bittersohl
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics Medical FacultyUniversity DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Center of Hip Preservation and Children’s OrthopaedicsSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.MR Center, Department of RadiologyMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Department of OrthopaedicsHeinrich-Heine University, Medical SchoolDüsseldorfGermany

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