Purpose: To compare signal-to-noise ratios (S/N) and contrast-to-noise ratios (C/N) in various MR sequences, including fat-suppressed three-dimensional spoiled gradient-echo (SPGR) imaging, fat-suppressed fast spin echo (FSE) imaging, and fat-suppressed three-dimensional driven equilibrium Fourier transform (DEFT) imaging, and to determine the diagnostic accuracy of these imaging sequences for detecting cartilage lesions in osteoarthritic knees, as compared with arthroscopy.
Materials and methods: Two sagittal fat-suppressed FSE images (repetition time [TR] / echo time [TE], 4000/13 [FSE short TE] and 4000/39 [FSE long TE]), sagittal fat-suppressed three-dimensional SPGR images (60/5, 40 degrees flip angle), and sagittal fat-suppressed echo-planar three-dimensional DEFT images (400/21.2) were acquired in 35 knees from 28 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. The S/N efficiencies (S/Neffs) of cartilage, synovial fluid, muscle, meniscus, bone marrow, and fat tissue, and the C/N efficiencies (C/Neffs) of these structures were calculated. Kappa values, exact agreement, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were determined by comparison of MR grading with arthroscopic results.
Results: The synovial fluid S/Neff on fat-suppressed FSE short TE images, fat-suppressed FSE long TE images, and fat-suppressed three-dimensional DEFT images showed similar values. Fat-suppressed three-dimensional DEFT images showed the highest fluid-cartilage C/Neff of all sequences. All images showed fair to good agreement with arthroscopy (kappa, 0.615 in FSE short TE, 0.601 in FSE long TE, 0.583 in three-dimensional SPGR, and 0.561 in three-dimensional DEFT). Although the sensitivity of all sequences was high (100% in FSE short TE, FSE long TE, and DEFT; 96.7% in SPGR), specificity was relatively low (67.6% in FSE short TE and FSE long TE; 85.3% in SPGR; 58.3% in DEFT). The peripheral area of bone marrow edema or whole area of bone marrow edema on fat-suppressed FSE images was demonstrated as low or iso-signal intensity on fat-suppressed three-dimensional DEFT images.
Conclusion: Fat-suppressed three-dimensional SPGR imaging and fat-suppressed FSE imaging showed high sensitivity and high negative predictive values, but relatively low specificity. The Kappa value and exact agreement was the highest on fat-suppressed FSE short TE images. Fat-suppressed three-dimensional DEFT images showed results similar to the conventional sequences.