MR imaging of osteochondral grafts and autologous chondrocyte implantation

Trattnig, S.; Millington, S. A.; Szomolanyi, P.; Marlovits, S.
January 2007
European Radiology;Jan2007, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p103
Academic Journal
Surgical articular cartilage repair therapies for cartilage defects such as osteochondral autograft transfer, autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) or matrix associated autologous chondrocyte transplantation (MACT) are becoming more common. MRI has become the method of choice for non-invasive follow-up of patients after cartilage repair surgery. It should be performed with cartilage sensitive sequences, including fat-suppressed proton density-weighted T2 fast spin-echo (PD/T2-FSE) and three-dimensional gradient-echo (3D GRE) sequences, which provide good signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios. A thorough magnetic resonance (MR)-based assessment of cartilage repair tissue includes evaluations of defect filling, the surface and structure of repair tissue, the signal intensity of repair tissue and the subchondral bone status. Furthermore, in osteochondral autografts surface congruity, osseous incorporation and the donor site should be assessed. High spatial resolution is mandatory and can be achieved either by using a surface coil with a 1.5-T scanner or with a knee coil at 3 T; it is particularly important for assessing graft morphology and integration. Moreover, MR imaging facilitates assessment of complications including periosteal hypertrophy, delamination, adhesions, surface incongruence and reactive changes such as effusions and synovitis. Ongoing developments include isotropic 3D sequences, for improved morphological analysis, and in vivo biochemical imaging such as dGEMRIC, T2 mapping and diffusion-weighted imaging, which make functional analysis of cartilage possible.


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