JULY 2014 • Vol. 3, Issue 3

Musculoskeletal MRI is Newest Presentation in the Home Study Series

Anne Marie Sawyer, B.S., R.T.(R)(MR), FSMRT

"Quantitative MRI provides noninvasive measures of cartilage degeneration at the earliest stages of joint degeneration, which is essential for efforts towards prevention and early intervention of OA."

We are pleased to present the SMRT Educational Seminars, Volume 17, Number 3: “Musculoskeletal MRI: Cartilage and Ligaments.” (coming soon!) This is the 65th accredited home study developed by the SMRT, exclusively for SMRT members. The accreditation is conducted by the SMRT acting as a RCEEM (Recognized Continuing Education Evaluation Mechanism) for the ARRT. Category A credits are assigned to each home study, which can be used to maintain one’s ARRT advanced registry. SMRT Home Studies are also approved for AIR (Australian Institute of Radiography), NZIMRT (New Zealand Institute of Radiation Technology) and CPD Now (The College of Radiographers, United Kingdom) continuing professional development (CPD) activities.

Three peer-reviewed articles have been chosen for this home study issue. As introduced in the first article, "The complex osseous geometry of the wrist combined with the thin articular cartilage, poses challenges for consistent diagnostic imaging." The authors outline the "technical aspects of performing high-resolution MRI of the wrist. The use of MRI in detecting osseous pathologies such as occult fractures, osteonecrosis, and abutment syndromes is discussed. The role of MRI in assessing articular cartilage defects and the MRI appearance of osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthropathies is reviewed."

The authors of the second article tell us "Cartilage is one of the most essential tissues for healthy joint function and is compromised in degenerative and traumatic joint disease." After reviewing cartilage composition and degeneration, methods are discussed that "grade and quantify morphologic changes as well as the techniques that quantify changes in the extracellular matrix." Given the increasing focus on the wide spread effects of osteoarthritis (OA), this is an especially timely article as testimony that "quantitative MRI provides noninvasive measures of cartilage degeneration at the earliest stages of joint degeneration, which is essential for efforts towards prevention and early intervention of OA."

In the third and final article, the authors focus on injury and reconstruction of ligaments in the knee. "Knee ligament instability may lead to meniscal and chondral damage, resulting in early osteoarthritis." This article aims to provide an understanding of "MRI appearances of knee ligament structures associated with knee instability, and to review the common patterns of altered knee mechanics that lead to ligament failure."

A special thank you to Steven P. Shannon, R.T.(R)(MR) from Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA for acting as the Expert Reviewer.

Thanks also to Heidi Berns, M.S., R.T.(R)(MR), FSMRT, Chair of the SMRT RCEEM Ad-hoc committee from Coralville, Iowa, USA and all those who participate on this committee by reviewing the home studies for accreditation. Finally, many thanks to Jennifer Olson, Associate Executive Director, Mary Keydash, Publications Director, Linda O-Brown, SMRT Coordinator, Sally Moran, Director of Electronic Communications and the entire staff in the Berkeley, California, USA office of the ISMRM and SMRT for their insight and long hours spent supporting these educational symposia.

It is with great sadness that I acknowledge that this particular home study is the last issue that the SMRT Publications Committee, chair Vanessa Orchard from Scotland and I as the Home Study sub-committee chair will create with Jennifer Olson. Since 1990 Jennifer has provided enormous support and valuable direction for the Technologists’ section of the ISMRM, the SMRT. Jennifer has been our non-stop resource to ensure that the SMRT continues to grow not only their membership, but also their educational offerings for the membership. She has constantly cultivated ideas on how to better serve the SMRT members. Jennifer has been relentless when it comes to providing quality education for MR Technologists and Radiographers. We will miss her terribly but know that she is off to a new and rewarding chapter in her life and congratulate her for it. And thank, thank, thank Jennifer a millions times over for all her hard work and long hours spent supporting education for MR Technologists and Radiographers.