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AG Musculoskeletal

Research Background

Musculoskeletal (MSK) diseases represent a main cause for disability with major individual and social costs. Traumatic defects of different joint structures such as cartilage, meniscus or ligaments may lead to early osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common musculoskeletal disorder with a continuously increasing prevalence in our aging society.

Qualitative and quantitative MR imaging is an important diagnostic tool that allows early detection of structural joint defects and osteoarthritis. Preoperative and postoperative MR imaging after surgical procedures may be able to predict and monitor disease progression and postoperative outcomes.

The “AG MSK” mainly works on developing, optimizing and clinically implementing different qualitative and quantitative MR sequences in order to assess individual joint structures non-invasively on a biochemical and biomechanical level.

Morphological evaluation

Standardized morphological evaluation of individual joint structures on high resolution MR imaging is essential for assessment, monitoring and outcome evaluation in the context of clinical studies and also for proper clinical treatment. Continuous optimization of MR image quality and development of standardized image interpretation is a focus of current ongoing investigations.


Non-invasive cartilage MR biomarkers such as T2, T2* or T1rho relaxation time measurements are able to detect early biochemical cartilage matrix changes, mainly increases in water content, collagen disruption and loss of proteoglycans. T2 relaxation time measurements have been shown to predict progression to morphological cartilage loss and they may have important impact on describing epidemiology of early OA and for outcome evaluation after cartilage repair procedures (Figure 1 and 2).


Skeletal muscle volume, fatty degeneration and perfusion are essential for proper musculoskeletal function. It has been shown, that qualitative and quantitative muscle MR parameters correlate with clinical strength, with progression of joint degeneration and with outcomes after surgical procedures (Figures 5 and 6). Potentially, MR parameters may be defined that help individual clinical decision making with respect to conservative versus operative treatment strategies.


After total joint arthroplasty MR imaging of the periprosthetic soft tissue is challenging due to major susceptibility artifacts caused by the implant. Metal artifact reducing sequences (Slice Encoding for Metal Artifact Correction, SEMAC) have been developed in order to decrease those artifacts while keeping the MR acquisition time in a reasonable time frame. These sequences are being evaluated and optimized for improved periprosthetic evaluation after final joint replacement.  In patients with persistent or new complaints after total joint arthroplasty the underlying causes may be identified. Also, these sequences allow for ideal postoperative follow-up evaluation after tumor resection.

Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology - AG MSK -

Medical Center – University of Freiburg
Faculty of Medicine
University of Freiburg
Hugstetter Strasse 55
79106 Freiburg


Priv-Doz. Dr. med. Pia M. Jungmann, MHBA

Tel: 0761 270 38190


Dr. Matthias Jung

Tel: 0761 270 38190


Group Members

Dr. Thierno Diallo
Dr. Hannes Engel
Dr. Paula Giesler
Dr. Lukas Sturm

Open Positions

You can contact us directly, if you would like to work with us.

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Pubmed Link

Pubmed Link