PURPOSE: To test the inter-observer and inter-method reliability among the measures suggesting patellofemoral joint disorder on both CT and MRI in the same subject and find possible association with internal derangements of the patellofemoral joint on MRI.
METHODS: Institutional review board approval was obtained with waiver of the informed consent in this HIPPA-compliant study. CT and MRI were evaluated in 32 knees in 32 respective subjects (10 men/22 women, mean age 38 ± 19 years). Three trained observers assessed tibial tuberosity-trochlear groove (TT-TG) distance, trochlear angle and trochlear depth on both CT and MRI. Intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) was used to evaluate inter-observer and inter-method reliability. Two radiologists' consensus reading was used to evaluate their association with soft tissue abnormalities of the patellofemoral joint. Chi-square test was used to assess the statistical significance of the qualitative variables.
RESULTS: There was an excellent inter-observer reliability (ICC for CT >0.89 and for MRI >0.90) and inter-method reliability (ICC >0.86) for all the quantitative measurements. There was a significant association between increased TT-TG distance value on MR imaging and lateral facet patellar cartilage abnormality and joint effusion (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Quantitative trochlear parameters can be reliably calculated on MRI, and an abnormal TT-TG distance is the most useful measurement among various static MR imaging parameters to correlate with patellar chondrosis and joint effusion. TT-TG distance should be reported in patellofemoral pain syndrome patients.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: IV.