Feasibility study of simultaneous physical examination and dynamic MR imaging of medial collateral ligament knee injuries in a 1.5-T large-bore magnet

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ObjectiveTo determine the feasibility of evaluating medial knee joint laxity with dynamic magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and simultaneous physical joint examination in a large-bore 1.5-T system.Materials and MethodsThe study included 10 patients (5 women, 5 men; mean age 35 years) with clinically diagnosed and categorized acute injuries of the medial collateral ligament (MCL). Intermittent valgus stress was applied separately to both the affected and the contralateral knee joint during dynamic MR imaging with a two-dimensional fast low-angle shot sequence. The width of the medial joint space and the opening angle between the femoral condyles and the tibial plateau were measured. Results obtained from dynamic MR imaging of the affected knee were compared with morphological MCL changes on static MRI, to kinematics of the contralateral side and to the clinical grading of MCL injuries.ResultsOn clinical examination, all patients had grade 2 MCL injuries except one, who had a grade 1 lesion. Using morphological MRI criteria, 9 grade II and 1 grade III injuries were seen. Mean medial joint space width and opening angles of all affected knees were 2.8 mm and 2.7° respectively, compared with 1.7 mm and 2.1° on the contralateral side. The Wilcoxon signed rank test indicated that the differences in width (P = 0.005) and opening angle (P = 0.037) between the affected and contralateral knees were significant.ConclusionDynamic MR imaging and simultaneous physical joint examination is feasible. Our results suggest that this technique might enable the imaging documentation of medial ligamentous knee instability.

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