Evaluation of articular cartilage in patients with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) using T2* mapping at different time points at 3.0 Tesla MRI: a feasibility study
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To define the feasibility of utilizing T2* mapping for assessment of early cartilage degeneration prior to surgery in patients with symptomatic femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), we compared cartilage of the hip joint in patients with FAI and healthy volunteers using T2* mapping at 3.0 Tesla over time.
Materials and methods
Twenty-two patients (13 females and 9 males; mean age 28.1 years) with clinical signs of FAI and Tönnis grade ≤ 1 on anterior-posterior x-ray and 35 healthy age-matched volunteers were examined at a 3 T MRI using a flexible body coil. T2* maps were calculated from sagittal- and coronal-oriented gradient-multi-echo sequences using six echoes (TR 125, TE 4.41/8.49/12.57/16.65/20.73/24.81, scan time 4.02 min), both measured at beginning and end of the scan (45 min time span between measurements). Region of interest analysis was manually performed on four consecutive slices for superior and anterior cartilage. Mean T2* values were compared among patients and volunteers, as well as over time using analysis of variance and Student’s t-test.
Whereas quantitative T2* values for the first measurement did not reveal significant differences between patients and volunteers, either for sagittal (p = 0.644) or coronal images (p = 0.987), at the first measurement, a highly significant difference (p ≤ 0.004) was found for both measurements with time after unloading of the joint. Over time we found decreasing mean T2* values for patients, in contrast to increasing mean T2* relaxation times in volunteers.
The study proved the feasibility of utilizing T2* mapping for assessment of early cartilage degeneration in the hip joint in FAI patients at 3 Tesla to predict possible success of joint-preserving surgery. However, we suggest the time point for measuring T2* as an MR biomarker for cartilage and the changes in T2* over time to be of crucial importance for designing an MR protocol in patients with FAI.
KeywordsMagnetic resonance imaging Hip Femoroacetubalar impingement Osteoarthritis T2* mapping
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