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Acta Orthop. 2016 Aug;87(4):418-24. doi: 10.1080/17453674.2016.1180578. Epub 2016 May 10.

Optical coherence tomography enables accurate measurement of equine cartilage thickness for determination of speed of sound.

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a Department of Applied Physics , University of Eastern Finland , Kuopio ;
b Department of Clinical Neurophysiology , Kuopio University Hospital , Kuopio , Finland ;
c Department of Equine Sciences , Utrecht University , Utrecht , the Netherlands ;
d Department of Medical Technology , Institute of Biomedicine, University of Oulu , Oulu ;
e Department of Diagnostic Radiology , Oulu University Hospital , Oulu ;
f School of Medicine , Institute of Biomedicine, Anatomy, University of Eastern Finland , Kuopio ;
g Cancer Center , Kuopio University Hospital , Kuopio , Finland.


Background and purpose - Arthroscopic estimation of articular cartilage thickness is important for scoring of lesion severity, and measurement of cartilage speed of sound (SOS)-a sensitive index of changes in cartilage composition. We investigated the accuracy of optical coherence tomography (OCT) in measurements of cartilage thickness and determined SOS by combining OCT thickness and ultrasound (US) time-of-flight (TOF) measurements. Material and methods - Cartilage thickness measurements from OCT and microscopy images of 94 equine osteochondral samples were compared. Then, SOS in cartilage was determined using simultaneous OCT thickness and US TOF measurements. SOS was then compared with the compositional, structural, and mechanical properties of cartilage. Results - Measurements of non-calcified cartilage thickness using OCT and microscopy were significantly correlated (ρ = 0.92; p < 0.001). With calcified cartilage included, the correlation was ρ = 0.85 (p < 0.001). The mean cartilage SOS (1,636 m/s) was in agreement with the literature. However, SOS and the other properties of cartilage lacked any statistically significant correlation. Interpretation - OCT can give an accurate measurement of articular cartilage thickness. Although SOS measurements lacked accuracy in thin equine cartilage, the concept of SOS measurement using OCT appears promising.

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