European Radiology

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 368–375 | Cite as

Detection of dysbaric osteonecrosis in military divers using magnetic resonance imaging

  • H. BolteEmail author
  • A. Koch
  • K. Tetzlaff
  • E. Bettinghausen
  • M. Heller
  • M. Reuter


This was a controlled cross-sectional study to investigate the prevalence of dysbaric osteonecrosis (DON) in military divers. MRI examinations of the large joints and adjacent bones were performed in a cross-sectional group of 32 highly experienced military divers and 28 non-divers matched for age and anthropometric data. Additional plain radiographs and follow-up controls were performed in all persons with signs certain or suspicious of DON. In two subject groups (one of divers and one of non-divers), lesions characteristic of DON were detected. From this controlled study, it may be concluded that MRI is a highly sensitive method to detect signs of osteonecrosis. It could be shown that the prevalence of bone lesions characteristic of osteonecrosis in highly experienced military divers is not higher than in non-diving subjects of comparable age. The outcome of this comparably small study group fits to the results of previous extensive studies performed with radiographs. The detected low incidence of DON in this collective may be due to the fact that military divers follow stricter selection criteria, decompression schemes and medical surveillance than commercial divers.


Dybaric osteonecrosis Decompression sickness Caisson disease Diving Magnetic resonance imaging 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Bolte
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Koch
    • 2
  • K. Tetzlaff
    • 2
  • E. Bettinghausen
    • 2
  • M. Heller
    • 1
  • M. Reuter
    • 1
  1. 1.Klinik fuer Diagnostische RadiologieUniversitaetsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein Campus KielKielGermany
  2. 2.German Naval Medical InstituteKielGermany

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