A new type of MRI scanning could help doctors detect arthritis at an earlier stage, allowing them to treat it more successfully, according to a new study.
Normal MRI imaging is usually not powerful enough to detect early damage being caused by osteoarthritis.
However, researchers at New York University have found that more advanced scanning can be used to reveal small changes in the structure of joint cartilage.
Scientists believe this type of scanning could eventually be used by specialists to spot the early signs of osteoarthritis in young patients and help provide better treatment for arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and the majority of Irish people over 55 years of age have some degree of evidence of the condition in their joints.
The researchers say new scanning techniques are now accurate enough to enable detection of subtle joint changes that can point to future osteoarthritis.
According to Arthritis Ireland, “it is unlikely that MRI or advanced MRI would be used to detect osteoarthritis in Ireland in the short-term as the cost and accessibility to these advanced scanners is prohibitive. However, this situation will hopefully change in the future.”
The research was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.