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Multiaxial 3D MRI of the Ankle: Advanced High-Resolution Visualization of Ligaments, Tendons, and Articular Cartilage


Fritz, Benjamin; de Cesar Netto, Cesar; Fritz, Jan (2023). Multiaxial 3D MRI of the Ankle: Advanced High-Resolution Visualization of Ligaments, Tendons, and Articular Cartilage. Foot and Ankle Clinics, 28(3):529-550.

Abstract

MRI is a valuable tool for diagnosing a broad spectrum of acute and chronic ankle disorders, including ligament tears, tendinopathy, and osteochondral lesions. Traditional two-dimensional (2D) MRI provides a high image signal and contrast of anatomic structures for accurately characterizing articular cartilage, bone marrow, synovium, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. However, 2D MRI limitations are thick slices and fixed slice orientations. In clinical practice, 2D MRI is limited to 2 to 3 mm slice thickness, which can cause blurred contours of oblique structures due to volume averaging effects within the image slice. In addition, image plane orientations are fixated and cannot be changed after the scan, resulting in 2D MRI lacking multiplanar and multiaxial reformation abilities for individualized image plane orientations along oblique and curved anatomic structures, such as ankle ligaments and tendons. In contrast, three-dimensional (3D) MRI is a newer, clinically available MRI technique capable of acquiring high-resolution ankle MRI data sets with isotropic voxel size. The inherently high spatial resolution of 3D MRI permits up to five times thinner (0.5 mm) image slices. In addition, 3D MRI can be acquired image voxel with the same edge length in all three space dimensions (isotropism), permitting unrestricted multiplanar and multiaxial image reformation and postprocessing after the MRI scan. Clinical 3D MRI of the ankle with 0.5 to 0.7 mm isotropic voxel size resolves the smallest anatomic ankle structures and abnormalities of ligament and tendon fibers, osteochondral lesions, and nerves. After acquiring the images, operators can align image planes individually along any anatomic structure of interest, such as ligaments and tendons segments. In addition, curved multiplanar image reformations can unfold the entire course of multiaxially curved structures, such as perimalleolar tendons, into one image plane. We recommend adding 3D MRI pulse sequences to traditional 2D MRI protocols to visualize small and curved ankle structures to better advantage. This article provides an overview of the clinical application of 3D MRI of the ankle, compares diagnostic performances of 2D and 3D MRI for diagnosing ankle abnormalities, and illustrates clinical 3D ankle MRI applications.

Abstract

MRI is a valuable tool for diagnosing a broad spectrum of acute and chronic ankle disorders, including ligament tears, tendinopathy, and osteochondral lesions. Traditional two-dimensional (2D) MRI provides a high image signal and contrast of anatomic structures for accurately characterizing articular cartilage, bone marrow, synovium, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. However, 2D MRI limitations are thick slices and fixed slice orientations. In clinical practice, 2D MRI is limited to 2 to 3 mm slice thickness, which can cause blurred contours of oblique structures due to volume averaging effects within the image slice. In addition, image plane orientations are fixated and cannot be changed after the scan, resulting in 2D MRI lacking multiplanar and multiaxial reformation abilities for individualized image plane orientations along oblique and curved anatomic structures, such as ankle ligaments and tendons. In contrast, three-dimensional (3D) MRI is a newer, clinically available MRI technique capable of acquiring high-resolution ankle MRI data sets with isotropic voxel size. The inherently high spatial resolution of 3D MRI permits up to five times thinner (0.5 mm) image slices. In addition, 3D MRI can be acquired image voxel with the same edge length in all three space dimensions (isotropism), permitting unrestricted multiplanar and multiaxial image reformation and postprocessing after the MRI scan. Clinical 3D MRI of the ankle with 0.5 to 0.7 mm isotropic voxel size resolves the smallest anatomic ankle structures and abnormalities of ligament and tendon fibers, osteochondral lesions, and nerves. After acquiring the images, operators can align image planes individually along any anatomic structure of interest, such as ligaments and tendons segments. In addition, curved multiplanar image reformations can unfold the entire course of multiaxially curved structures, such as perimalleolar tendons, into one image plane. We recommend adding 3D MRI pulse sequences to traditional 2D MRI protocols to visualize small and curved ankle structures to better advantage. This article provides an overview of the clinical application of 3D MRI of the ankle, compares diagnostic performances of 2D and 3D MRI for diagnosing ankle abnormalities, and illustrates clinical 3D ankle MRI applications.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Molecular Cancer Research
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Cancer Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Surgery
Health Sciences > Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Language:English
Date:September 2023
Deposited On:07 Sep 2023 12:15
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:38
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1083-7515
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fcl.2023.05.008
PubMed ID:37536817