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Tendon injury and repair after core biopsies in chronic Achilles tendinosis evaluated by serial magnetic resonance imaging

British Journal of Sports Medicine
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1136/bjsm.2003.007609
  • Original Article
  • Medicine


Objective: To evaluate the morphological response and healing process after transverse ultrasound guided core biopsies in chronic Achilles tendinosis using serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over a period of one year. Methods: The study included 10 patients. Six had five transverse core biopsies and were longitudinally evaluated by MRI before the biopsies and then after one week, three months, seven months, and one year. These patients started a three month eccentric training programme one to two weeks after the biopsy. Four "non-biopsied" and untreated patients were used for comparison. The clinical outcome was categorised according to the level of pain and performance. Results: The MRI one week after the biopsies showed an increase in tendon volume (T1-WI) and mean signal intensity (PD-WI) of 29% and 30% (p = 0.04). During follow up, tendon volume and mean signal intensity gradually decreased. One year after the biopsy, the tendon volume had decreased by 20% and the intratendinous signal by 28% compared with the index MRI (p = 0.04). The untreated patients showed an increase in both tendon volume (39%, p = 0.06) and intratendinous signal (37%, p = 0.14) at the one year follow up. After one year, pain and performance had improved in the treated patients but not the untreated patients. Conclusion: Five transverse ultrasound guided core biopsies induced a lesion in the diseased Achilles tendon. Alterations during healing such as tendon size and intratendinous signal intensity could be evaluated by MRI. The tendon alterations had decreased one year after the core biopsies.

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