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Bone marrow edema syndrome


Bone marrow edema syndrome (BMES) refers to transient clinical conditions with unknown pathogenic mechanism, such as transient osteoporosis of the hip (TOH), regional migratory osteoporosis (RMO), and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). BMES is primarily characterized by bone marrow edema (BME) pattern. The disease mainly affects the hip, the knee, and the ankle of middle-aged males. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain the pathogenesis of the disease. Unfortunately, the etiology of BMES remains obscure. The hallmark that separates BMES from other conditions presented with BME pattern is its self-limited nature. Laboratory tests usually do not contribute to the diagnosis. Histological examination of the lesion is unnecessary. Plain radiographs may reveal regional osseous demineralization. Magnetic resonance imaging is mainly used for the early diagnosis and monitoring the progression of the disease. Early differentiation from other aggressive conditions with long-term sequelae is essential in order to avoid unnecessary treatment. Clinical entities, such as TOH, RMO, and RSD are spontaneously resolving, and surgical treatment is not needed. On the other hand, early differential diagnosis and surgical treatment in case of osteonecrosis is of crucial importance.

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Correspondence to Anastasios V. Korompilias.

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Korompilias, A.V., Karantanas, A.H., Lykissas, M.G. et al. Bone marrow edema syndrome. Skeletal Radiol 38, 425–436 (2009).

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  • Bone marrow edema
  • Regional migratory osteoporosis
  • Transient osteoporosis
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Osteonecrosis
  • MR imaging/diagnosis