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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1989 Jul;(244):272-80.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the ischemic femoral head in pigs. Dependency of signal intensities and relaxation times on elapsed time.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0728.


The magnetic resonance (MR) signal behavior of freshly excised pig femoral heads undergoing ischemic necrosis in vitro was evaluated. Ten femoral heads removed from skeletally immature pigs were stored at 37 degrees in a sealed, sterile container during the observation period. Imaging was initially performed 40 minutes after excision (base-line) and repeated at six, 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours. Changes in MR signal intensity were measured, and the T1 and T2 relaxation times were calculated for selected epiphyseal and metaphyseal areas. Signal intensities decreased during the first 24 hours and returned to baseline by 72 hours. T1 relaxation time increased most significantly between baseline and 24 hours and then decreased to near baseline level between 48 and 72 hours. T2 changes over time were not statistically significant. The type of localized, distinctive decreases in MR signal intensity occurring in clinical cases of early nontraumatic femoral head osteonecrosis was not observed in pigs. Such changes appear to require the presence of an intact and vigorous repair response within adjacent viable bone. However, the transient decrease in signal intensity and prolongation of T1 relaxation time at 12, 24, and 48 hours after traumatic vascular insult may be indicators of early femoral head ischemia.

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