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Quantitative 3D MR evaluation of autologous chondrocyte implantation in the knee: feasibility and initial results

Elsevier Ltd
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.joca.2007.01.017
  • Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation
  • Mri
  • Knee
  • Cartilage Volume
  • Quantification
  • Medicine


Summary Objective To evaluate the feasibility of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based follow-up of cartilage volumetric data in patients after autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI). To provide results from a 1-year follow-up study. Methods From 21 ACI patients sagittal FS 3D FLASH (50/11/30; 0.6 × 0.6 × 1.5 mm 3) MRI knee data sets were obtained pre and 1-year post-ACI surgery in the femoral condyles. After semi-automated segmentation and 3D reconstruction of the cartilage plates, cartilage volume, mean thickness and size of the cartilage–bone interface were calculated. Susceptibility artifacts were evaluated in all, intra-observer reproducibility was evaluated in six of the patients. Volumetric parameters were compared during follow-up and sensitivity to change was assessed for the total femur vs the separately evaluated medial/lateral portions of the femur. Results Reproducibility error (coefficient of variation %) was 3.9%/4.4% for the med./lat. tibial and 5.1% for the femoral cartilage volume. Susceptibility artifacts led to the exclusion of three out of the 21 patients, but were moderate in the remaining 18 patients, not preventing reproducible segmentation. In contrast to lack of significant change in the (non-operated) tibiae, a mean 6% increase of volume and thickness in the treated femora ( P < 0.001 Wilcoxon) relative to the pre-OP data was observed. Sensitivity to change for the femur ranged from 0.74 to 2.60 for cartilage volume and thickness and was improved when evaluating only the treated portion of the femur in contrast to the total femur. Conclusion Our data indicate that despite postoperative susceptibility artifacts quantitative evaluation of cartilage volumetric parameters can be performed in ACI patients. The technique is able to describe changes of these parameters over 1 year. Volumetric follow-up may help to identify altered disease progression.

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