Ultrasonographic measurement of femoral cartilage thickness in patients with spinal cord injury

J Rehabil Med. 2013 Feb;45(2):145-8. doi: 10.2340/16501977-1092.


Objective: To assess femoral cartilage thickness in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Subjects: Forty-six patients with SCI (35 men, 11 women; mean age: 33.6 years (standard deviation 8.1) and 46 age-, sex- and body mass index (BMI)-matched healthy subjects were enrolled.

Methods: Patients were evaluated with the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale, Modified Ashworth Scale, Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury, and Functional Independence Measurement. Mid-point ultrasonographic femoral cartilage thickness measurements were taken from the right lateral condyle, right intercondylar area, right medial condyle, left medial condyle, left intercondylar area and left lateral condyle.

Results: Ultrasonographic measurements revealed significantly thicker values in the intercondylar areas (bilaterally) and the medial condyle (left knee) of patients with SCI compared with those of controls. When the subgroups were compared with their paired healthy controls, measurements pertaining to the motor complete group were found to be significantly thicker in the intercondylar areas (bilaterally) and the medial condyle (left knee). Cartilage thickness values correlated negatively with the duration of immobilization (for bilateral intercondylar areas), and with BMI and ASIA level (for bilateral lateral condyles).

Conclusion: Femoral cartilage thicknesses were found to change after SCI, and to have a negative correlation with disease duration and severity. Future studies including histological evaluations may elucidate whether such changes are favourable for the knee joints of patients with spinal cord injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cartilage, Articular / diagnostic imaging
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Knee / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee / pathology*
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Young Adult