Medical imaging plays a vital role in orthopaedic and sports medicine for diagnosis, treatment, and postoperative evaluation of injury and disease. The objectives of the SPRI Imaging Research department are to:

  • Develop orthopaedic and sports medicine imaging protocols for diagnosis and treatment evaluation
  • Apply cutting-edge imaging techniques to musculoskeletal-specific applications
  • Advance a better understanding of the relationship between non-invasive quantitative imaging measurements and pathology
  • Publish findings in peer-reviewed imaging journals with high impact factors and strong clinical readership

Since 2008, Imaging Research has worked alongside the other SPRI departments to evaluate and develop diagnosis and treatment techniques with direct clinical impact. All clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in the Steadman Clinic are incorporated into the SPRI clinical data registry, providing a vast dataset for clinical studies. In addition, study-specific imaging is performed on asymptomatic volunteers and cadaver specimens as appropriate to optimize MRI protocols before they are used for clinical scans.

Imaging Research has also developed strong collaborative relationships with industry partners to facilitate the translation from research to clinical practice. This includes Siemens Medical Solutions USA and Siemens Healthineers in Germany, in which new MRI protocols are developed and validated in conjunction with SPRI. For complex image processing tasks the Imaging Research department collaborates with the talented medical imaging team at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and University of Queensland in Australia.

As part of the Institute’s strategic alliance and research collaboration with Siemens Medical Solutions USA, SPRI has upgraded its previous Verio 3.0 Tesla (T) MRI technology with the Siemens flagship clinical Skyra-fit 3.0 T MRI system. This technology provides the researchers at SPRI, as well as the doctors and patients at The Steadman Clinic better access to advanced medical imaging, including quieter scan options, improved speed and resolution, and access to the most up-to-date imaging techniques. Patients are now able to get a more comprehensive picture of possible injury within a joint or body part, receive a more accurate diagnosis, get more focused treatment, and learn how well they respond to that treatment. The Institute’s agreement with Siemens also allows Imaging Research to test and validate new imaging techniques developed specifically for the type of clinical research being conducted at the Institute. This allows us to utilize cutting-edge techniques in our research and to influence the development of new clinical imaging applications.

Current collaborative projects with CSIRO and the University of Queensland focus on 3D modeling and analysis of structures including the knee meniscus and cruciate ligaments, hip labrum, as well as articular cartilage and bony morphology of the hip, knee, and shoulder. An important component of Imaging Research’s collaboration with the University of Queensland and CSIRO is in the area of automatic segmentation of various tissues. This work will greatly improve the efficiency and reproducibility of image segmentation, needed for the routine clinical applicability of quantitative imaging and other applications that currently require time-consuming manual segmentation.

Current research projects include:

  • Evaluating quantitative mapping techniques, which measure small changes in joint tissue properties (water and chemical content, collagen fiber organization), for early detection of joint disease such as osteoarthritis prior to the later stage advanced disruption of joint tissues.
  • Comparing MRI and computed tomography (CT) results for orthopaedic/sports medicine imaging applications with the goal of reducing the need for CT and patient exposure to ionizing radiation.
  • Auto-segmentation to allow efficient, reproducible clinical use of techniques that currently require time-intensive manual processing.

In summary, the highlights of Imaging Research during 2015 and early 2016 included: 1) 11 published papers in peer-reviewed journals and three podium presentations at international conferences, 2) Continued collaboration with an MRI industry leader Siemens and the researchers at CSIRO/University of Queensland to develop and validate novel and clinically important imaging sequences and software, 3) Upgrade to the Skyra-fit 3.0 T MRI system. Imaging Research will continue to take advantage of its strong collaborations and advanced imaging technology to perform state-of-the-art research and apply cutting-edge imaging tools to improving patient outcomes.

List of Publications

For up-to-date publication updates see:


Chandra SS, Surowiec RK, Ho CP, Xia Y, Engstrom C, Crozier S, Fripp J, Automated Analysis of Hip Joint Cartilage combining MR T2 and 3D Fast-Spin-Echo Images, Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Medicine. 2016;75(1):403-413. PMID: 25644241

Wilson KJ, Surowiec RK, Ho CP, Devitt BM, Fripp J, Smith WS, Spiegl, UJ, Dornan GJ, Quantifiable imaging biomarkers for evaluation of the posterior cruciate ligament using 3-T magnetic resonance imaging: A feasibility study, Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016;4(4):1-7.

Ganal E, Ho CP, Wilson KJ, Surowiec RK, Smith WS, Dornan GJ, Millett PJ, Quantitative MRI Characterization of Arthroscopically Verified Supraspinatus Tendons with T2 Mapping, Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. [Epub ahead of print, 5 Mar 2015] PMID: 25739912

Spiegl UJ, Horan MP, Smith SW, Ho CP, Millet PJ, The critical shoulder angle is associated with rotator cuff tears and shoulder osteoarthritis and is better assessed with radiographs over MRI, Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2015 Mar 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Ho CP, Surowiec RK, Frisbie D, Ferro FP, Dornan DJ, Wilson KJ, Saroki AJ, Philippon MJ, Prospective in vivo comparison of damaged and healthy-appearing articular cartilage specimens in patients with femoroacetabular impingement: Comparison of T2 mapping, histologic endpoints, and arthroscopic grading, Arthroscopy, 2016 Apr 29. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2016.01.066. [Epub ahead of print]


Xue N, Doellinger M, Ho CP, Surowiec RK, Schwarz R, Automated Model-based Semantic Registration of Multimodal MRI Data, Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 2015 Mar;41(3):633-44. PMID: 24591252

Ho CP, James EW, Surowiec RK, Gatlin CC, Ellman MB, Cram TR, Dornan GJ, Systematic Technique Dependent Differences in CT versus MRI Measurement of the Tibial Tubercle Trochlear Groove (TTTG) Distance, Am J Sports Med. 2015 Mar;43(3):675-82. PMID:25575535

Ho CP, James E, Crespo B, Matheny LM, Diagnostic accuracy of 3.0 T magnetic resonance imaging for the detection of meniscus posterior root pathology, Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2015;23(1):152-7.

Zue N, Doelinger M, Ho CP, Surowiec RK, Schwarz R, Automatic Detection of Anatomical Landmarks on the Knee Joint Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging Data, Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 2015;41(1):183-92. PMID: 24431181

Xue N, Doellinger M, Fripp J, Ho CP, Surowiec RK, Schwarz R, Automatic model-based semantic registration of multimodal MRI knee data, JMRI. 2015;41(3):633-644.

Ferro FP, Ho CP, Dornan DJ, Surowiec RK, Philippon MJ, Comparison of T2 Values in the Lateral and Medial Portions of the Weight-Bearing Cartilage of the Hip for Patients with Symptomatic Femoroacetabular Impingement and Asymptomatic Volunteers, Arthroscopy. 2015;31(8):1497-506. PMID: 25896275

Ferro FP, Ho CP, Briggs KK, Philippon MJ, Patient-centered outcomes after hip arthroscopy for femoroacetabular impingement and labral tears are not different in patients with normal, high, or low femoral version, Arthroscopy. 2015;31(3):454-9.

Spiegl UJ, Petri M, Smith SW, Ho CP, Millett PJ, Association between scapular bony morphology and snapping scapula syndrome, J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2015;24(8):1289-95.

Gatlin CC, Matheny LM, Ho CP, Johnson NS, Clanton TO, Diagnostic accuracy of 3.0 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging for the detection of articular cartilage lesions of the talus, Foot Ankle Int. 2015;36(3):288-92.


Surowiec RK, Lucas EP, Wilson KJ, Saroki AJ, Ho CP, Clinically Relevant Subregions of Articular Cartilage of the Hip for Analysis and Reporting Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging: A Technical Note, Cartilage. 2014 January;5 (1): 11-15. doi: 10.1177/1947603513514082

Surowiec RK, Lucas EP, Fitzcharles EK, Petre BM, Dornan GD, Giphart JE, Ho CP, T2 Values of Articular Cartilage in Clinically Relevant Subregions of the Asymptomatic Knee, Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. 2014 June;22(6):1404-14. PMID: 24271329

Surowiec RK, Lucas EP, Ho CP, Quantitative MRI in the Evaluation of Articular Cartilage Health: Reproducibility and Variability with a Focus on T2 Mapping, Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. 2014 June;22(6):1385-95. PMID: 24170187

Ho CP, Surowiec RK, Ferro FP, Lucas EP, Saroki AJ, Dornan GJ, Fitzcharles EK, Anz AW, Smith WS, Wilson KJ, Philippon MJ, Subregional Anatomical Distribution of T2 Values of Articular Cartilage in Asymptomatic Hips, Cartilage. 2014 July; 5(3):154-164. doi:10.1177/1947603514529587

Surowiec RK, Sochanska A, Hentkowski B, Martin B, Engebretsen L, Wijdicks CA, Epidemiology, Identification, Treatment, and Return to Play of Musculoskeletal Based Ice Hockey Injuries, British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2014 Jan;48(1):4-10. PMID: 24285783

Clanton TC, Ho CP, Williams BT, Surowiec RK, Gatlin C, Haytmanek CT, Magnetic Resonance Imaging Characterization of Individual Distal Tibiofibular Ankle Syndesmosis Structures in both Asymptomatic and Surgically Treated Cohorts, Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. 2014 Nov 15. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 25398368

Anz AW, Lucas EP, Fitzcharles EK, Surowiec RK, Millett PJ, Ho CP, MRI T2 Mapping of the Asymptomatic Supraspinatus Tendon by Age and Imaging Plane Using Clinically Relevant Subregions, European Journal of Radiology. 2014 May;83(5):801-5. PMID: 24613548


Department Staff

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