Cartilage MR imaging at 3.0 versus that at 1.5 T: preliminary results in a porcine model

Radiology. 2005 Jul;236(1):140-50. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2361040747.


Purpose: To compare 1.5- and 3.0-T magnetic resonance (MR) images of porcine knee specimens containing artificial cartilage lesions in terms of accuracy of lesion depiction, image quality, and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).

Materials and methods: This Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant study had institutional review board approval, and informed consent was obtained from the human volunteers. Two fat-saturated cartilage MR imaging sequences (an intermediate-weighted fast spin-echo [SE] sequence and a spoiled gradient-echo [GRE] sequence) were optimized for imaging at 3.0 T in two human volunteers and then used to image 10 porcine knees in which 29 artificial cartilage lesions had been created. Corresponding sequences were used at 1.5 T for all specimens. Images were assessed by two radiologists in consensus, and diagnostic performance in lesion depiction was determined by using macroscopic findings in specimen slices as a reference standard. SNRs were also calculated. For statistical analysis, the McNemar test of discordant pairs was used with a level of significance of P < .05.

Results: The best diagnostic performance for both the intermediate-weighted fast SE and the spoiled GRE sequences was achieved at 3.0 T. With use of corresponding fat-saturated intermediate-weighted fast SE sequences with an identical acquisition time (9 minutes 44 seconds), 26 (90%) of 29 lesions were detected at 3.0 T, while 18 (62%) were detected at 1.5 T. With use of fat-saturated spoiled GRE sequences, 24 (83%) of 29 lesions were detected at 3.0 T (acquisition time, 8 minutes 48 seconds), and 23 (79%) lesions were detected at 1.5 T (acquisition time, 11 minutes 14 seconds). The rate of correct lesion grade assessment was 65% (17 of 26 lesions) at 3.0 T and 61% (11 of 18 lesions) at 1.5 T with the intermediate-weighted fast SE sequences and 83% (20 of 24 lesions) at 3.0 T and 70% (16 of 23 lesions) at 1.5 T with the spoiled GRE sequences. Both subjective evaluation of image quality and SNR values were significantly higher at 3.0 T (P < .05).

Conclusion: In this animal model, MR imaging at 3.0 T increased the accuracy of cartilage lesion assessment when compared with imaging at 1.5 T. Image quality and SNR were highest at 3.0 T.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Knee Injuries / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Swine