An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury greatly increases the risk for premature knee osteoarthritis (OA). Improved diagnosis and staging of early disease are needed to develop strategies to delay or prevent disabling OA. This study shows that novel UTE-T2* mapping demonstrates changes in cartilage deep tissue health according to joint injury status as well as a potential for articular cartilage and menisci to heal deep tissue injuries. Further clinical studies of UTE-T2* mapping are needed to determine if it can be used to identify joints at risk for rapid degeneration and to monitor effects of new treatments to delay or prevent the development of OA.
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