No, not necessarily or not at all. Bone marrow “edema” is a finding on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that could signify several things – 1) true edema or fluid in the bone 2) inflammation in the bone; 3) fatty infiltration of the bone. Many times the ‘edema’ is reversible – that is, it will get better on its own. One study shows that – if you have rheumatoid arthritis – that ‘edema’ precedes destruction of the bone. We don’t fully understand these lesions yet. Our technology (MRI) is ahead of our understanding of the cause and implications of the finding.
About Joan Bathon, M.D.
Dr. Bathon was a Co-Deputy Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Hopkins Bayview. She was also the founder and director of the Hopkins Arthritis Center.