Objective: Our objective was to evaluate the accuracy of MR imaging strategy that uses primarily fast spin-echo sequences for the diagnosis of anterior cruciate ligament tears.
Materials and methods: The original clinical interpretations of MR images of 217 examinations of the knee joint were correlated with subsequent arthroscopic results. Each MR examination included a double-echo fast spin-echo sequence as the only imaging sequence in the sagittal plane. Subsequent discordant MR and arthroscopic examinations were then subjected to reanalysis by two observers who were unaware of arthroscopic results to determine if misinterpretations were observer or image dependent. Two hundred sixteen patients who underwent MR imaging for suspected internal derangement of the knee subsequently underwent arthroscopic surgery. Two patients had both knees evaluated. One patient was excluded because he was referred for evaluation for osteomyelitis, not internal derangement. This yielded a total number of 217 MR examinations for suspected internal derangement of the knee.
Results: For 56 arthroscopically proven tears, the sensitivity of MR imaging was 96%. The specificity was 98%, yielding an overall accuracy rate of 98%. The positive and negative predictive values were 95% and 99%, respectively. These values are within the ranges of previously reported MR imaging strategies using conventional spin-echo sequences.
Conclusion: Fast spin-echo MR imaging of the knee can be an alternative to conventional spin-echo imaging for the detection of anterior cruciate ligament tears.