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J Athl Train. 2018 Nov;53(11):1082-1088. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-376-17. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

Ultrasonographic Assessment of Femoral Cartilage in Individuals With Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Case-Control Study.

Author information

1
Division of Rheumatology, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA, and Department of Quantitative Health Science, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.
2
Department of Exercise and Sports Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
3
Department of Radiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
4
University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis.
5
University of Glasgow, Scotland.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Developing osteoarthritis is common after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). Monitoring changes in femoral cartilage size after ACLR may be a way to detect the earliest structural alterations before the radiographic onset of osteoarthritis. Diagnostic ultrasonography (US) offers a clinically accessible and valid method for evaluating anterior femoral cartilage size.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the US measurements of anterior femoral cross-sectional area and cartilage thickness between limbs in individuals with a unilateral ACLR and between the ACLR limbs of these individuals and the limbs of uninjured control participants.

DESIGN:

Case-control study.

SETTING:

Research laboratory.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 20 volunteers with an ACLR (37.0 ± 26.6 months after surgery) and 28 uninjured volunteers.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

We used US to assess anterior femoral cartilage cross-sectional area and thickness (ie, medial, lateral, and intercondylar) in the ACLR and contralateral limbs of participants with ACLR and unilaterally in the reference limbs of uninjured participants.

RESULTS:

The ACLR limb presented with greater anterior femoral cartilage cross-sectional area (96.68 ± 22.68 mm2) than both the contralateral (85.69 ± 17.57 mm2, t19 = 4.47; P < .001) and uninjured (84.62 ± 15.89 mm2, t46 = 2.17; P = .04) limbs. The ACLR limb presented with greater medial condyle thickness (2.61 ± 0.61 mm) than both the contralateral (2.36 ± 0.47 mm, t19 = 2.78; P = .01) and uninjured limbs (2.22 ± 0.40 mm, t46 = 2.69; P = .01) and greater lateral condyle thickness (2.46 ± 0.65 mm) than the uninjured limb (2.12 ± 0.41 mm, t46 = 2.20; P = .03).

CONCLUSIONS:

Anterior femoral cartilage cross-sectional area and thickness assessed via US were greater in the ACLR limb than in the contralateral and uninjured limbs. Greater thickness and cross-sectional area may have been due to cartilage swelling or hypertrophy after ACLR, which may affect the long-term health of the joint.

KEYWORDS:

cartilage cross-sectional area; cartilage thickness; diagnostic imaging; knee

PMID:
30615493
PMCID:
PMC6333222
[Available on 2019-11-01]
DOI:
10.4085/1062-6050-376-17
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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