Objective: To report the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings in athletic injuries of the extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) subsheath, assessing the utility of gadolinium-enhanced (Gd) fat-saturated (FS) T1-weighted sequences with wrist pronation and supination.
Methods: Sixteen patients (13 male, three female; mean age 30.3 years) with athletic injuries of the ECU subsheath sustained between January 2003 and June 2009 were included in this retrospective study. Initial and follow-up 1.5-T wrist MRIs were performed with transverse T1-weighted and STIR sequences in pronation, and Gd FS T1-weighted sequences with wrist pronation and supination. Two radiologists assessed the type of injury (A to C), ECU tendon stability, associated lesions and rated pulse sequences using a three-point scale: 1=poor, 2=good and 3=excellent.
Results: Gd-enhanced FS T1-weighted transverse sequences in supination (2.63) and pronation (2.56) were most valuable, compared with STIR (2.19) and T1-weighted (1.94). Nine type A, one type B and six type C injuries were found. There were trends towards diminution in size, signal intensity and enhancement of associated pouches on follow-up MRI and tendon stabilisation within the ulnar groove.
Conclusion: Gd-enhanced FS T1-weighted sequences with wrist pronation and supination are most valuable in assessing and follow-up athletic injuries of the ECU subsheath on 1.5-T MRI.