Recently published data found that ultrashort echo-time MRI has the ability to better diagnose changes in cartilage deep tissue health, which could help delay or prevent the onset of osteoarthritis.
Researchers evaluated 31 patients with a mean age of 29.8 years who were undergoing anatomic ACL reconstruction (ACLR) and 11 healthy control patients. All patients underwent 3-T MRI while 16 patients in the ACLR group underwent the same MRI at 2 years postoperatively. Modified Outerbridge grades were given to the central medial femoral condyle (cMFC) and posterior medial femoral condyle (pMFC) for the ACL-reconstructed patients based on arthroscopic examination of the medial meniscus. Ultrashort echo time (UTE-T2) maps were constructed for the posterior medial meniscus (pMM), cMFC, pMFC and medial tibial plateau (MTP). Cross-sectional study of UTE-T2 and arthroscopic data and longitudinal analyses of UTE-T2 changes were also conducted.
Overall, 23 patients in the ACLR group had arthroscopic grades showing intact cMFC cartilage and 28 patients were Outerbridge grade 0 to 2. Deep cMFC and pMFC cartilage UTE-T2 values varied with injury and Outerbridge grade. Preoperative UTE-T2 values of deep cMFC and pMFC cartilage in the ACLR group were 43% and 46% higher, respectively, than the values observed in the control group. All preoperative elevations in UTE-T2 values in deep pMFC cartilage and the pMM in patients with healthy menisci decreased to levels of the control group.
In a subcohort of 16 patients from the ACLR group, laminar appearance was noted in 15 patients and all 11 control patients at the 2-year follow-up.
Disclosure: This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (R01 AR052784). Qian has a patent on the acquisition-weighted stack of spirals imaging method.