CORRInsights®: T1ρ Hip Cartilage Mapping in Assessing Patients With Cam Morphology: How Can We Optimize the Regions of Interest?

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In their study, Anwander and colleagues address the optimization of regions of interest (ROIs) used during advanced parametric cartilage mapping in a prospective cohort of patients diagnosed with cam-type femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). The authors examine this challenging topic by applying three different segmentation strategies: (1) Determining the mean T1ρ value of the entire hip cartilage, (2) assessing all 36 to 54 ROIs individually, and (3) defining the six large ROIs. They conclude that partitioning the cartilage into six moderately-sized regions results in high inter/intraobserver reliability, while also maintaining the ability to detect regional variations in relaxation times versus methods employing a single large ROI or 36 to 54 small ROIs.
The utility of parametric mapping as a biomarker for early chondral-matrix depletion has been established, with multiple techniques of varying clinical feasibility currently available and/or in development [4, 5, 7]. T1ρ provides good sensitivity for changes in chondral proteoglycan content with a reasonable scan time and without the administration of intravenous contrast. It is a particularly promising technique for detecting early chondral-matrix depletion in the clinical setting before those changes become evident on standard MRI sequences [7, 12]. The identification of at-risk cartilage may allow for timely intervention aimed at joint preservation [11].
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