Despite its convenience and non-invasiveness on daily clinical use, standard X-ray radiography cannot show articular cartilage. We developed a novel type of X-ray dark field imaging (DFI), which forms images only by a refracted beam with very low background illumination. We examined a disarticulated distal femur and a shoulder joint with surrounding soft tissue and skin, both excised from a human cadaver at the BL20B2 synchrotron beamline at SPring-8. The field was 90 mm wide and 90 mm high. Articular cartilage of the disarticulated distal femur was obvious on DFI, but not on standard X-ray images. Furthermore, DFI allowed visualization in situ of articular cartilage of the shoulder while covered with soft tissue and skin. The gross appearance of the articular cartilage on the dissected section of the proximal humerus was identical to the cartilage shown on the DFI image. These results suggested that DFI could provide a clinically accurate method of assessing articular cartilage. Hence, DFI would be a useful imaging tool for diagnosing joint disease such as osteoarthritis.
- Articular cartilage
- Synchrotron radiation
- X-ray dark field imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging