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Radiology. 2012 Jul;264(1):260-8. doi: 10.1148/radiol.12111439.

Meniscal calcifications: morphologic and quantitative evaluation by using 2D inversion-recovery ultrashort echo time and 3D ultrashort echo time 3.0-T MR imaging techniques--feasibility study.

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Department of Radiology, University of Califonia-San Diego, 408 Dickinson St, San Diego, CA 92103, USA.



To assess the ability of ultrashort echo time (UTE) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging techniques to enable morphologic assessment of different types of meniscal calcifications, to compare these sequences with standard clinical sequences, and to perform T2* measurements of meniscal calcifications.


This study was exempted by the institutional review board, and informed consent was not required. Ten human cadaveric menisci were imaged with high-spatial-resolution radiography and 3.0-T MR imaging by using morphologic (T1-weighted fast spin-echo [FSE], T2-weighted FSE, proton density [PD]-weighted FSE, two-dimensional [2D] fast spoiled gradient-echo [FSPGR], three-dimensional [3D] FSPGR, and 3D UTE) and quantitative (2D inversion-recovery [IR] UTE and 3D UTE) sequences. The menisci were divided into thirds for regional analysis. Morphologic assessment was performed with MR imaging; MR imaging findings were correlated with radiographs. Calcifications were classified as punctate, linear, or globular. T2* measurements were performed by manual placement of regions of interest (ROIs) in calcifications and by automatically creating ROIs in the surrounding tissues. Mixed-effects linear regression was used to determine variations in T2* as a function of region, morphology, and tissue type.


The two globular calcifications were visualized with all sequences. For punctate (n=21) and linear (n=21) calcifications, respectively, visibility rates were as follows: 9.5% for both with the T1-weighted FSE sequence, 0% for both with the T2-weighted FSE sequence, 19.0% and 23.8% with the PD-weighted FSE sequence, 0% for both with the 2D IR UTE sequence, 100% for both with the 3D UTE sequence, and 100% for both with the 3D FSPGR sequence. T2* values were significantly lower for calcifications than for the surrounding meniscal tissue (P<.001). There was a trend of globular calcifications having lower T2* values than other morphologies (P=.08). With the 2D IR UTE technique, the T2* of the globular calcifications tended to be lower than with the 3D UTE technique (0.13-0.16 vs 1.32-3.03 msec) (P=.14, analysis of variance).


UTE MR imaging sequences may allow morphologic as well as quantitative evaluation of meniscal calcifications.

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