Usefulness of slice encoding for metal artifact correction (SEMAC) technique for reducing metal artifacts after total knee arthroplasty
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To evaluate the usefulness of a novel MRI sequence strategy in the assessment of the periprosthetic anatomical structures after primary total knee arthroplasty.
Two MR sequences were retrospectively compared for the imaging of 15 patients with implanted cruciate-retaining/fixed-bearing TKAs (DePuy, PFC Sigma): a slice encoding sequence for metal artifact correction (SEMAC) and a standard sequence. Images were acquired on a 1.5-T system. The degree of artifact reduction was assessed using several qualitative (Likert-type scale) (artifact size, distorsion, blur, image quality, periprosthetic bone, posterior cruciate ligament, lateral collateral ligament, medial collateral ligament, patella tendon, popliteal vessels) and quantitative (artifact volume, Insall–Salvati index, length of patella/tendon, prosthesis dimensions) parameters by blinded reads performed by four investigators. The SEMAC sequences were statistically compared with the standard sequence using Wilcoxon test. Additionally, the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for interobserver agreement was calculated.
Higher levels of blurring were found with SEMAC compared to standard sequences (p < 0.001). All other qualitative parameters improved significantly with the application of SEMAC. In comparison with conventional sequences, the artifact volume was reduced by 59% utilizing SEMAC. Thus, the artifact reduction improved the precision of measurements such as Insall–Salvati index and length of patella/tendon (p < 0.001). The dimension of the tibial component (Ti alloy/polyethylene) revealed accurate values with both MRI sequences. A sufficient interobserver agreement among all readers was found with SEMAC, qualitatively ICC 0.9 (range 0.8–1) as well as quantitatively ICC 0.95 (range 0.92–0.98).
SEMAC effectively reduces artifacts caused by metallic implants after total knee arthroplasty relative to standard imaging. This allows for an improved assessment of periprosthetic anatomical structures. This might enable an improved detectability of postoperative complications in the future.
Level of evidence
Diagnostic Study Level III.
KeywordsTotal knee arthroplasty Ligaments Periprosthetic bone SEMAC Artifact reduction
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Mathias Nittka is an employee of Siemens Healthcare GmbH. The remaining authors declare that there were no conflicts of interest.