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Am Fam Physician. 2001;64(2):203

This issue's cover article, “Radiographic Assessment of Osteoarthritis,” beginning on page277, represents the first in a series of “Radiologic Decision-Making” articles coordinated by two Kansas City–based family medicine residencies. The new series coordinators are Mark Meyer, M.D., residency program director and clinical associate professor of family medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, and Walter Forred, M.D., residency program director and assistant professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine, Truman Medical Center East.

Earlier last year, we announced the conclusion of a four-year “Radiologic Decision-Making” series coordinated by Thomas J. Barloon, M.D., and George R. Bergus, M.D., from the University of Iowa College of Medicine. Since then we have been eagerly awaiting the debut of the series from coordinators Meyer and Forred, who have been overseeing articles in the publication process from topic selection to peer review and now, finally, to publication.

The series opens with a look at radiographic findings in osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis worldwide and one of the most debilitating conditions affecting older adults. Daniel Swagerty, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., and Deborah Hellinger, D.O., from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, compiled this practical guide to the radiographic assessment of osteoarthritis. Dr. Swagerty is associate professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Internal Medicine, and associate director (Education) of the Center of Aging, and his co-author, Dr. Hellinger, is assistant professor and chief of musculoskeletal radiology in the Department of Radiology.

The article highlights the hallmark radiographic clues of asymmetric joint space narrowing, subchondral sclerosis, osteophyte formation, subluxation and distribution patterns of osteoarthritic changes. These osteoarthritis findings are illustrated with a series of radiographs in the article, and the pathologic changes of osteoarthritis are also depicted on the cover of this issue in an illustration by Scott S. Bodell, a Dallas artist who has earned a reputation at AFP for fine renderings of musculoskeletal concepts. His careful cutaway drawing of a knee joint explicates in color the bony reality of black-and-white radiographs. The drawing shows the progression of the disease from stage 1 to bone cysts to severe lipping of bone at the sides of the joint, resulting in immobilization.

We hope you enjoy this article and the entire series from the two Kansas City–based family practice residencies. Their series will focus on articles that help clinicians formulate a methodical approach to choosing appropriate radiographic studies for problems frequently encountered by family physicians. Drs. Meyer and Forred welcome outside contributions for the series, although contributors should keep in mind the goal of presenting a family practice perspective to radiologic decision-making. Inquiries can be directed to Dr. Meyer

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