Quantitative and Topographical Evaluation of Ankle Articular Cartilage Using High Resolution MRI

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The objectives of this study were to quantitatively evaluate the articular cartilage layers of the ankle and describe the cartilage topographical distribution across the joint surfaces using high resolution MRI and image segmentation. An anisotropic diffusion noise reduction algorithm and a directional gradient vector flow (dGVF) snake segmentation algorithm were applied to cartilage sensitive MR images. Eight cadaveric ankles were studied. Six repeated data sets were acquired in five of the ankles. Quantitative parameters were calculated for each cartilage layer; coefficients of variation (CV) were calculated from the six repeated data sets; and 3D thickness distribution maps were generated. The noise reduction algorithm produced marked image enhancement. Mean cartilage thickness ranged from 0.91 ± 0.08 mm in the fibula to 1.34 ± 0.14 mmin the talus. Mean cartilage volume was 3.32 ± 0.55 ml, 1.72 ± 0.25 ml, and 0.35 ± 0.06 ml for the talus, tibia, and fibula, respectively. Mean CV ranged 2.82%-5.04% for quantitative parameters in the talus and tibia. The reported noise reduction and segmentation technique allow precise extraction of ankle cartilage and 3D reconstructions show that the thickest cartilage occurs over the talar shoulders, where osteochondritits dissecans (OCD) lesions commonly occur. © 2006 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 25:143–151, 2007

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