Purpose: To determine whether a three-dimensional isotropic resolution fast spin-echo sequence (FSE-Cube) has similar diagnostic performance as a routine magnetic resonance (MR) imaging protocol for evaluating the cartilage, ligaments, menisci, and osseous structures of the knee joint in symptomatic patients at 3.0 T.
Materials and methods: This prospective, HIPAA-compliant, institutional review board-approved study was performed with a waiver of informed consent. FSE-Cube was added to the routine 3.0-T MR imaging protocol performed in 100 symptomatic patients (54 male patients with a median age of 32 years and 46 female patients with a median age of 33 years) who subsequently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. All MR imaging studies were independently reviewed twice by two musculoskeletal radiologists. During the first review, the routine MR imaging protocol was used to detect cartilage lesions, ligament tears, meniscal tears, and bone marrow edema lesions. During the second review, FSE-Cube with multiplanar reformations was used to detect these joint abnormalities. With arthroscopic results as the reference standard, the sensitivity and specificity of FSE-Cube and the routine MR imaging protocol in the detection of cartilage lesions, anterior cruciate ligament tears, and meniscal tears were calculated. Permutation tests were used to compare sensitivity and specificity values.
Results: FSE-Cube had significantly higher sensitivity (P = .039) but significantly lower specificity (P = .003) than the routine MR imaging protocol for detecting cartilage lesions. There were no significant differences (P = .183-.999) in sensitivity and specificity between FSE-Cube and the routine MR imaging protocol in the detection of anterior cruciate ligament tears, medial meniscal tears, or lateral meniscal tears. FSE-Cube depicted 96.2% of medial collateral ligament tears, 100% of lateral collateral ligament tears, and 85.3% of bone marrow edema lesions identified on images obtained with the routine MR imaging protocol.
Conclusion: FSE-Cube has similar diagnostic performance as a routine MR imaging protocol for detecting cartilage lesions, cruciate ligament tears, collateral ligament tears, meniscal tears, and bone marrow edema lesions within the knee joint at 3.0 T.