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Advances and challenges in imaging rheumatic & musculoskeletal disorders

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Guest Editors: 

Domenico Albano (IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders), Francesco Carubbi (University of L'Aquila, BMC Rheumatology).

Recent impressive technological advancements in imaging rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders (RMDs) have allowed for earlier and more accurate diagnoses. The pivotal role of radiological examination in RMDs is clear, but crucial challenges remain in the interpretation and quality control of images. Health professionals require clarity on information and limitations of potential and current methods. 

It is with this focus that BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders and BMC Rheumatology launch this cross-journal collection exploring advances & challenges associated with imaging RMDs. Publications will be allocated to the journal that fits the scope of submitted work, which will be decided at the discretion of the Editor.

We welcome Research Articles, Case Reports, Commentaries, Debates and Study Protocols on all aspects of research into this field, including translational science, data mining and artificial intelligence, clinical investigations, technical advances, epidemiological studies, and clinical trials.

If you would like to inquire about the suitability of a study for consideration or would like to propose a topic for a Debate or Review article, please email a presubmission enquiry to

To submit your manuscript, please use our online submission system at BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders or BMC Rheumatology. Please indicate in your cover letter that you would like the article to be considered for the ‘Advances and challenges in imaging rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders’ special issues.


  1. Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is a patchy and slowly progressive disease of skeletal muscle. For MRI to be a useful biomarker in an FSHD clinical trial, it should reliably detect changes over r...

    Authors: Leo H. Wang, Dennis W. W. Shaw, Anna Faino, Christopher B. Budech, Leann M. Lewis, Jeffrey Statland, Katy Eichinger, Stephen J. Tapscott, Rabi N. Tawil and Seth D. Friedman
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:262
  2. To explore the value of magnetic resonance quantitative analysis using diffusion tensor imaging, T2 mapping, and intravoxel incoherent motion in the evaluation of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage and t...

    Authors: Xiaohong Lyu, Yue Gao, Qiang Liu, Heng Zhao, Huadong Zhou and Shinong Pan
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:239
  3. In recent years, technological improvements allowed imaging modalities to become increasingly essential in achieving early and precise diagnoses in the field of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). T...

    Authors: Domenico Albano and Francesco Carubbi
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:227
  4. Real-time ultrasound imaging (RUSI) has been increasingly used as a form of biofeedback when instructing and re-training muscle contraction. However, the effectiveness of the RUSI on a single sustained contrac...

    Authors: Shanshan Lin, Bo Zhu, Yiyi Zheng, Guozhi Huang, Qing Zeng and Chuhuai Wang
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:142

    The Correction to this article has been published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:600

  5. Osteoporotic fractures are a major cause of morbidity in the elderly. Menopausal women represent the population with the highest risk of early osteoporosis onset, often accompanied by vertebral fractures (VF)....

    Authors: Annamaria Zaia, Roberto Rossi, Roberta Galeazzi, Manuela Sallei, Pierluigi Maponi and Pietro Scendoni
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:108
  6. The intrinsic muscles of the foot are key contributors to foot function and are important to evaluate in lower limb disorders. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), provides a non-invasive option to measure muscle...

    Authors: Melinda M. Franettovich Smith, James M. Elliott, Aiman Al-Najjar, Kenneth A. Weber II, Mark A. Hoggarth, Bill Vicenzino, Paul W. Hodges and Natalie J. Collins
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:97
  7. The purpose of the study is to investigate the correlation between upper lumbar disc herniation (ULDH) and multifidus muscle degeneration via the comparison of width, the cross-sectional area and degree of fat...

    Authors: Chong Liu, Jiang Xue, Jingjing Liu, Gang Ma, Abu Moro, Tuo Liang, Haopeng Zeng, Zide Zhang, Guoyong Xu, Zhaojun Lu and Xinli Zhan
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:92
  8. Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is a patchy and slowly progressive disease of skeletal muscle. MRI short tau inversion recovery (STIR) sequences of patient muscles often show increased hyperinten...

    Authors: Leo H. Wang, Laura M. Johnstone, Michael Bindschadler, Stephen J. Tapscott and Seth D. Friedman
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:56
  9. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by systemic inflammation and bone and muscle loss. Recent research showed that obesity facilitates inflammation, but it is unknown if obesity also increases the risk ...

    Authors: Andreas Friedberger, Camille Figueiredo, Tobias Bäuerle, Georg Schett and Klaus Engelke
    Citation: BMC Rheumatology 2020 4:72
  10. Imaging cannot be performed during natural weightbearing in biomechanical studies using conventional closed-bore MRI, which has necessitated simulating weightbearing load on the joint. Upright, open MRI (UO-MR...

    Authors: Andrew M. Schmidt, David J. Stockton, Michael A. Hunt, Andrew Yung, Bassam A. Masri and David R. Wilson
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:795
  11. The currently available scoring methods for enthesitis are often measures of pain but not of inflammation at entheseal sites. The Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Clinical Trials (OMERACT) psoriatic arthritis ...

    Authors: Xenofon Baraliakos, Philipp Sewerin, Eugenio de Miguel, Effie Pournara, Christine Kleinmond, Annette Wiedon and Frank Behrens
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:767
  12. We developed a fully automatic three-dimensional knee MRI analysis software that can quantify meniscus extrusion and cartilage measurements, including the projected cartilage area ratio (PCAR), which represent...

    Authors: Hayato Aoki, Nobutake Ozeki, Hisako Katano, Akinobu Hyodo, Yugo Miura, Junpei Matsuda, Kimiko Takanashi, Kenji Suzuki, Jun Masumoto, Noriya Okanouchi, Takeo Fujiwara and Ichiro Sekiya
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:742
  13. The aim of this study is to introduce a new method of percutaneous endoscopic decompression under 3D real-time image-guided navigation for spinal stenosis in degenerative kyphoscoliosis patients without instab...

    Authors: Tsung-Yu Ho, Chung-Wei Lin, Chien-Chun Chang, Hsien-Te Chen, Yen-Jen Chen, Yuan-Shun Lo, Pan-Hsuan Hsiao, Po-Chen Chen, Chih-Sheng Lin and Hsi-Kai Tsou
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:734
  14. Musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) and the multi-biomarker disease activity (MBDA) score are outcome measures that may aid in the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. This study evaluated tofacitin...

    Authors: Amir A. Razmjou, Jenny Brook, David Elashoff, Gurjit Kaeley, Soo Choi, Tanaz Kermani and Veena K. Ranganath
    Citation: BMC Rheumatology 2020 4:55
  15. Gout has been associated with weaker foot/leg muscles and altered gait patterns. There is also evidence of on-going foot pain and an increased risk of tendinopathy, with the Achilles and patella tendons most f...

    Authors: Simon Otter, Catherine Payne, Anna-Marie Jones, Nick Webborn and Peter Watt
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:658
  16. Kashin–Beck disease (KBD) is a disabling osteoarticular disease involving growth and joint cartilage. Early diagnosis can effectively prevent the progress of the disease. However, the early diagnosis of it is ...

    Authors: Yong Li, Pengde Kang, Zongke Zhou, Fuxing Pei, Qing He and Dike Ruan
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:540
  17. One of the most significant complications after a femoral neck fracture is osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH). The concomitant use of single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) with computed tomo...

    Authors: Jae Youn Yoon, Soong Joon Lee, Kang Sup Yoon and Pil Whan Yoon
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:517
  18. The traditional Tönnis Classification System has inherent drawbacks as it is vulnerable to the subjectivity of a four-grade system. A two-grade classification could potentially be more reliable. The purpose of...

    Authors: Jacob Shapira, Jeffrey W. Chen, Rishika Bheem, Philip J. Rosinsky, David R. Maldonado, Ajay C. Lall and Benjamin G. Domb
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:502
  19. The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of an individual navigation template for the deep pin position on the iliac crest, based on digital design and 3D printing technology.

    Authors: Bin Liang, Qiang Chen, Shuai Liu, Shuo Chen, Qingqiang Yao, Bo Wei, Yan Xu, Cheng Tang and Liming Wang
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:478
  20. The aim of the present study was to describe and measure the occipital-cervical distance by a novel method utilizing the occiput-C4 distance (OC4D) in normal subjects, as a proposed tool to guide restoration o...

    Authors: Chao Tang, Sheng Yang, Ye Hui Liao, Qiang Tang, Fei Ma, Qing Wang and De Jun Zhong
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:385
  21. To evaluate the reliability of two different techniques for measuring penetration and distribution of the cement mantle in the proximal tibia after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) with Computer Tomography (CT) i...

    Authors: Hennie Verburg, Linda van Zeeland Koobs, Dieu Donné Niesten, Peter Pilot and Nina Mathijssen
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:374
  22. Conventional fat quantification methods for rotator cuff muscles have various limitations, such as inconsistent reliabilities of the Goutallier grades and need for advanced techniques in quantitative MRI seque...

    Authors: Dokwan Lee, Ki-Taek Hong, Wonhee Lee, Eun Kyung Khil, Guen Young Lee, Jung-Ah Choi and Yongnam Song
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:362
  23. In this commentary, we discuss the potential of advanced imaging, particularly Dynamic Contrast Enhanced (DCE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the objective assessment of the inflammatory process in rheum...

    Authors: Ali Mobasheri, Mark Hinton, Faiq Shaikh and Olga Kubassova
    Citation: BMC Rheumatology 2020 4:33
  24. Animal studies have reported an increase in pelvic floor muscle stiffness during pregnancy, which might be a protective process against perineal trauma at delivery. Our main objective is to describe the change...

    Authors: Bertrand Gachon, Xavier Fritel, Fabrice Pierre and Antoine Nordez
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:305
  25. We aimed to determine if composite structural measures of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) progression on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging can predict the radiographic onset of accelerated knee osteoarthritis.

    Authors: Matthew S. Harkey, Julie E. Davis, Lori Lyn Price, Robert J. Ward, James W. MacKay, Charles B. Eaton, Grace H. Lo, Mary F. Barbe, Ming Zhang, Jincheng Pang, Alina C. Stout, Bing Lu, Timothy E. McAlindon and Jeffrey B. Driban
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:299
  26. Severe spinal pain is an unusual presentation of gout. Due to its rarity and the difficulty of obtaining joint fluid or tissue for crystal analysis, dual energy computed tomography (DECT) may be a useful imagi...

    Authors: Jeremy X. Wang, Beverly Ng, Haesung Bak, David Spencer, Nicholas Manolios and Peter K. K. Wong
    Citation: BMC Rheumatology 2020 4:22
  27. The purpose of this study was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasonography for the diagnosis of avulsion fractures of the distal fibula for lateral ankle sprain in children and compare it to that of...

    Authors: Yoshiyuki Takakura, Satoshi Yamaguchi, Ryuichiro Akagi, Makoto Kamegaya, Seiji Kimura, Hirofumi Tanaka and Tetsuro Yasui
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:276
  28. Shockwave therapy (SWT) is a commonly used intervention for a number of musculoskeletal conditions with varying clinical outcomes. However, the capacity of SWT to influence pathophysiological processes and the...

    Authors: Hani Al-Abbad, Sophie Allen, Susan Morris, Jackie Reznik, Erik Biros, Bruce Paulik and Anthony Wright
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:275
  29. Various inflammatory conditions may present with musculoskeletal symptoms similar to those of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). We investigated findings on 18F-fluorodexoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography/c...

    Authors: Hideyuki Horikoshi, Takashi Nakanishi, Katsumi Tamura, Fumihiko Kimura and Kenji Itoh
    Citation: BMC Rheumatology 2020 4:21
  30. Lumbar disc degeneration seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is defined as loss of signal intensity and/or disc height, alone or in combination with other MRI findings. The MRI findings and thresholds use...

    Authors: Line Dragsbæk, Per Kjaer, Mark Hancock and Tue Secher Jensen
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:253
  31. A combination of conventional computed tomography and single photon emitted computed tomography (SPECT/CT) provides simultaneous data on the intensity and location of osteoblastic activity. Currently, since SP...

    Authors: Félix Dandois, Stijn De Buck, Lucas Beckers, Darshan Shah, Laura Slane, Hilde Vandenneucker and Lennart Scheys
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:162
  32. MRI scanning has revolutionized the clinical diagnosis of lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). However, there is currently no consensus as to how best to classify MRI findings which has hampered the development of ro...

    Authors: Yuyu Ishimoto, Amir Jamaludin, Cyrus Cooper, Karen Walker-Bone, Hiroshi Yamada, Hiroshi Hashizume, Hiroyuki Oka, Sakae Tanaka, Noriko Yoshimura, Munehito Yoshida, Jill Urban, Timor Kadir and Jeremy Fairbank
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:158
  33. Objective: White cord syndrome is extremely rare and search of the literature has revealed very few cases. Postoperative MR scan revealed hyperintense intrinsic cord signal changes within cord ischemia and ede...

    Authors: Deuk Soo Jun, Jong-Min Baik and Seung-Kwan Lee
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:157
  34. Coracohumeral ligament (CHL) thickening, contracture, and fibroplasia have been identified in glenohumeral idiopathic adhesive capsulitis (GHIAC). The CHL is the main structure responsible for the range of mot...

    Authors: John L. Pape, Mathieu Boudier-Revéret, Jean-Michel Brismée, Kerry K. Gilbert, Detlev Grabs and Stéphane Sobczak
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:136
  35. Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is the most severe type of cervical spondylosis and the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction among adults over 55 years old. MRI plays an important role in the dia...

    Authors: Nanfang Xu, Youyu Zhang, Guangjin Zhou, Qiang Zhao and Shaobo Wang
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:83
  36. Joint replacements continue to occur during a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patient’s lifetime despite significant advances in available treatment options. The purpose of this study was to examine and quantify syn...

    Authors: Evan A. Choate, Gurjit S. Kaeley, Jenny Brook, Roy D. Altman, John D. FitzGerald, Astrid R. Floegel-Shetty, David A. Elashoff and Veena K. Ranganath
    Citation: BMC Rheumatology 2020 4:8
  37. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of whole-body CT for diagnosis of hand and forearm fractures in intubated patients with suspected polytrauma.

    Authors: F. Münn, R. A. Laun, A. Asmus, R. Bülow, S. Bakir, L. Haralambiev, A. Eisenschenk and S. Kim
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:49
  38. Human adipose-derived Mesenchymal stem cells (HADMSCs) have proven their efficacy in treating osteoarthritis (OA), in earlier preclinical and clinical studies. As the tissue repairers are under the control of ...

    Authors: Mohammad Nasb, Huang Liangjiang, Chenzi Gong and Chen Hong
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 21:33
  39. Bone scintigraphy with 99mTc-labeled diphosphonates can identify prostate cancer bone metastases with high sensitivity, but relatively low specificity, because benign conditions such as osteoarthritis can also tr...

    Authors: Flavian Tabotta, Mario Jreige, Niklaus Schaefer, Fabio Becce, John O. Prior and Marie Nicod Lalonde
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2019 20:619
  40. Superior labral anterior to posterior (SLAP) lesions remain a clinical and diagnostic challenge in routine (non-arthrographic) MR examinations of the shoulder. This study prospectively evaluated the ability of...

    Authors: Felix Wuennemann, Laurent Kintzelé, Felix Zeifang, Michael W. Maier, Iris Burkholder, Marc-André Weber, Hans-Ulrich Kauczor and Christoph Rehnitz
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2019 20:598