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What Is Subchondral Sclerosis?

By April 16, 2009

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X-rays and imaging studies are used to help diagnose osteoarthritis. Actually, images are a big part of the diagnostic process -- along with a patient's medical history and physical examination. There are no blood tests to rule in osteoarthritis -- only blood tests that help rule out other types of arthritis.

From a patient's perspective, x-ray reports contain a lot of terminology -- meaningless unless you have a medical background or it's explained to you by your doctor. For example, what is subchondral sclerosis? That's something commonly seen on x-rays that show osteoarthritis. Let's break it down. Subchondral bone is the layer of bone just below the cartilage. Sclerosis means thickening. So, what's the significance of subchondral sclerosis when seen on an x-ray?

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