Musculoskeletal Radiology

Musculoskeletal radiology deals with all aspects of imaging of the musculoskeletal system in clinical and research contexts. Studies dealing with the musculoskeletal system are very frequent and make up the majority of imaging studies in radiology. The numerous complex local and systemic disease patterns of the bones and joints make musculoskeletal imaging interesting and challenging. This, of course, requires a close cooperation with the referring specialist departments, especially rheumatology, orthopaedics and trauma surgery, which has been daily lived reality in our group for years. Accordingly, numerous interdisciplinary clinical and preclinical research projects have been carried out in recent years, with a special focus on degenerative and inflammatory diseases of bones and joints.
More specifically, the main focus is the imaging of articular cartilage. The long-established association between cartilage damage and joint morbidity (in degenerative as well as inflammatory conditions alike) keeps our clinical and scientific considerations centred around the individual patient. Not least due to new therapy options, e.g. autologous chondrocyte transplantations for focal cartilage damage or targeted biologic therapy for inflammatory joint diseases, the comprehensive and reliable diagnosis of cartilage is of great clinical and scientific interest. Consequently, its non-invasive and contrast agent-free assessment remains our focus. Moreover, we are concerned with the comprehensive imaging of ligaments, muscles, meniscus and bones by qualitative and quantitative MRI techniques. In a variety of basic research and translational as well as clinical studies we try to detect pathology at the earliest stages, i.e. before morphological changes occur and at a stage, when this pathology is still amenable to cure. In close cooperation with the Medical Physics Department, we use modern, innovative MRI techniques for molecular imaging, while also assessing the effects of mechanical loading and improving subsequent analyses by differentiated image processing techniques. To this end, we have long-standing collaborations with numerous institutions within the University Hospital (UKD), the University (HHU) and beyond.

The main research areas of our group at a glance:

  • Molecular imaging of the intervertebral disc (especially gagCEST, UTE, T2* and T2 mapping)
  • Molecular imaging of peripheral joints in degenerative, inflammatory and post-traumatic conditions (especially sodium imaging, uMT CEST, DWI, T2* with quantitative susceptibility mapping, DESS)
  • Imaging of rheumatic diseases (especially morphological techniques [STIR, T1w pre- and post-KM, T2w and functional techniques DWI, perfusion imaging, T2* mapping and molecular techniques such as gagCEST) – completed and ongoing studies include CAR-ERA, Arthromark I and II, ADAM, CALIRA, CALIPSO, CALIRA and others.
  • Imaging of muscle tissue through DTI techniques
  • Real-time techniques for functional joint assessment
  • Biomechanical loading of cartilage and meniscus to assess tissue functionality
  • Evaluation of differentiated techniques of automated image processing
  • Computer-based simulations to identify structural and compositional correlates in basic research contexts

Our recent publications





Centre of excellence on
Musculoskeletal Radiology


Dr. med. Dipl. -Ing. Miriam Frenken

Fachärztin für Radiologie

Dr. med. Matthias Boschheidgen

Facharzt für Radiologie

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