Articular cartilage volume in the knee: semiautomated determination from three-dimensional reformations of MR images

Radiology. 1996 Mar;198(3):855-9. doi: 10.1148/radiology.198.3.8628883.


Purpose: To determine the accuracy of semiautomated quantification of articular cartilage volume from three-dimensional (3D) reformations of magnetic resonance (MR) images.

Materials and methods: Sagittal, fat-suppressed, 3D, spoiled gradient-recalled-echo MR imaging of two bovine and two human cadaver knees was performed. Articular cartilage volume was calculated from 3D reformations of the MR images by using a semiautomated program written at the authors' institution. Calculated volumes were compared with directly measured volumes of the surgically removed articular cartilage.

Results: The percentage of error of the MR imaging-determined volumes was 6.53% +/- 4.75 (mean +/- standard deviation). A strong correlation between the two sets of observations was shown (r=.997). Linear regression showed the calculated volumes to be highly accurate (slope=1.002, P>.25). Repeated reformations yielded volumes that were reproducible (mean absolute error, 0.013 mL +/- 0.019) and not significantly different from the measured volume (P>.10).

Conclusion: Semiautomated quantification of knee articular cartilage from MR images yields highly accurate cartilage volumes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage, Articular / anatomy & histology*
  • Cattle
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Knee Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*