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Skeletal Radiol. 2012 Sep;41(10):1309-14. doi: 10.1007/s00256-012-1396-3. Epub 2012 Mar 25.

Multimodality correlations of patellar height measurement on X-ray, CT, and MRI.

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Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 601 North Caroline Street, JHOC 3262, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



To investigate whether the universally accepted range of normal patellar height ratios derived from radiography for the Insall-Salvati (IS) and Blackburne-Peel (BP) methods could be similarly applied to both CT and MRI.


Institutional review board approval was obtained with waiver of informed consent for this HIPPA-compliant study. A total of 45 knees in 42 patients (15 men, 27 women; age range 11 to 75 years, mean age 39 ± 20 years) who underwent tri-modality (radiograph, CT, and MRI) examinations were selected. All patients had knee imaging obtained for a variety of reasons and measurements were performed by two independent readers who were blinded to each other's measurements or the respective measurements derived from each of the methods. Paired t test was used to compare the mean values among the modalities. Inter-observer and inter-method agreements were assessed using intra-class correlation coefficients.


Statistically significant, but small quantitative differences are noted between tri-modality patellar height ratios. For comparable results, the small addition of 0.13 and 0.10 are needed for the Insall-Salvati measurements on MRI and CT respectively, compared with radiographs. For the Blackburne-Peel ratio, an additional adjustment of 0.09 is needed between radiographs and MRI, but not between radiographs and CT. These adjustments are independent of gender. The interobserver reproducibility was excellent (ICC ≥ 0.94) for both the Insall-Salvati and Blackburne-Peel methods for all modalities.


The results indicate that cut-off values for patella alta and baja derived from radiographs should not be directly transposed to CT and MRI; however, the adjustments are relatively minor. These measurements show excellent reproducibility for all modalities currently used for patellar height measurements.

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