Survey of MRI Usefulness for the Clinical Assessment of Bone Microstructure

  • Soldati Enrico
  • Rossi Francesca
  • Vicente Jerome
  • Guenoun Daphne
  • Pithioux Martine
  • Iotti Stefano
  • Malucelli Emil
  • Bendahan David

  • MRI
  • Bone microarchitecture
  • Bone morphology
  • Bone quality


Bone microarchitecture has been shown to provide useful information regarding the evaluation of skeleton quality with an added value to areal bone mineral density, which can be used for the diagnosis of several bone diseases. Bone mineral density estimated from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) has shown to be a limited tool to identify patients’ risk stratification and therapy delivery. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been proposed as another technique to assess bone quality and fracture risk by evaluating the bone structure and microarchitecture. To date, MRI is the only completely non-invasive and non-ionizing imaging modality that can assess both cortical and trabecular bone in vivo. In this review article, we reported a survey regarding the clinically relevant information MRI could provide for the assessment of the inner trabecular morphology of different bone segments. The last section will be devoted to the upcoming MRI applications (MR spectroscopy and chemical shift encoding MRI, solid state MRI and quantitative susceptibility mapping), which could provide additional biomarkers for the assessment of bone microarchitecture.