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AAOS Now

Published 12/1/2011
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Annie C. Hayashi

Workshop focuses on novel technologies to identify OA

Cutting-edge diagnostic technologies can lead to early treatment

By the time a radiograph reveals the joint space narrowing and other degenerative signs characteristic of osteoarthritis (OA), the disease has often progressed to its end stage where treatment options are limited.

“Early diagnosis and treatment of preosteoarthritic conditions will potentially improve the musculoskeletal health of millions of people,” said Constance R. Chu, MD, co-organizer of a workshop cosponsored by the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) and the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI). “Clinical assessment of acute joint injury and early joint degeneration” will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, 8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m., at Moscone Center West in San Francisco, as part of the 2012 ORS annual meeting.

“Emerging diagnostic technologies will lead to improved care in the management of patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscal injuries, who are at high risk for early OA, and could advance clinical treatment of posttraumatic and other forms of OA,” said Dr. Chu.

New technologies for diagnosis of OA
According to Linda J. Sandell, PhD, co-organizer of the workshop, the session will help participants “develop an understanding of the utility of high-field morphologic and quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess bone, cartilage, and meniscus pathology following joint injury and early joint degeneration. It will also focus on the clinical translation of these new assessment methods and new quantitative measures of synovial activity.”

“Images obtained with optical coherent tomography and MRI techniques sensitive to subsurface matrix changes can reveal the earliest signs of cartilage damage, when conservative measures, including protected weight bearing, could potentially have an effect,” said Dr. Chu. “We are not compounding an early injury with loading or with other activities that would cause more cartilage damage,” she added.

Additional presenters include Hollis G. Potter, MD, speaking on “Morphological and quantitative MRI assessment of joint injury and early degeneration,” and Carla R. Scanzello, MD, PhD, addressing “Novel assessments of inflammation in joint tissues and synovial fluid.”

“Because inflammation plays a major role in OA, quantification of inflammation and identifying markers for inflammation will also help us to characterize and stage these pre-osteoarthritic states,” concluded Dr. Chu.

Annie Hayashi is the development and communications manager for the Orthopaedic Research Society. She can be reached at hayashi@ors.org