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Measurement of articular cartilage volumes in the normal knee by magnetic resonance imaging: can cartilage volumes be estimated from physical characteristics?

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Journal of Orthopaedic Science

Abstract

In recent times several studies have been performed on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences for imaging cartilage. A fat-suppressed three-dimensional sequence is one such noteworthy example. More recent studies have reported that the total volume of cartilage in a knee joint can be elucidated using this sequence. Based on these studies, we hypothesized that the total volume of cartilage in the knee joint may reflect certain other physical characteristics. The purpose of the current study was to clarify the articular cartilage volumes of the patella and femur in the human knee joints of healthy adults using MRI and to analyze the correlation of these volumes with other physical characteristics. The material comprised 68 knees of 68 Japanese healthy volunteers, aged from their twenties to their forties (37 men and 31 women) who had no past history of joint disease or trauma in the legs. The knees were imaged by MRI with a fat-suppressed three-dimensional sequence, and the cartilage volumes were calculated by computer processing. The factors analyzed were age, body weight, height, leg length, foot size, circumferences of the thigh and lower leg, the distance between medial and lateral femoral condyles, the diameter of the tibial head, body mass index, general joint laxity, quadriceps angle, and leg-heel alignment. The mean cartilage volume was 7.6 ± 1.6 cm3 (8.3 ± 1.6 cm3 in men, 6.7 ± 0.9 cm3 in women). It was significantly larger in men than in women. However, the volume positively correlated with body weight, height, leg length, and foot size, without distinction of gender or age. Based on these data, a multiple regression analysis was developed: cartilage volume = 0.113 × height − 11.053. We concluded that the cartilage volume depends on physical size regardless of gender, and it can be estimated from factors of physical size.

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Nishimura, K., Tanabe, T., Kimura, M. et al. Measurement of articular cartilage volumes in the normal knee by magnetic resonance imaging: can cartilage volumes be estimated from physical characteristics?. J Orthop Sci 10, 246–252 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00776-005-0889-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00776-005-0889-5

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