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Determination of patellar ligament and anterior cruciate ligament geometry using MRI

Author(s): H.P. Wang, H.K. Cui, W. Yue, R.F. Yan, J.P. Ren, Z.S. Zhai, C.H. Liang, R.M. Yang and D.M. Han

Ligament geometry is crucial to surgical treatment success in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. This study aimed to optimize the MRI technique to elucidate the geometry of the patellar ligament (PL) and ACL in vivo. A 1.5-T superconducting MRI system with a special surface coil and fast spin echo was used to acquire high-resolution T1-weighted images (H-T1WI) of the ACL. The sagittal plane angle was 10° to 15° towards the inner side of the vertical line of the tangent line axis of the femoral intercondylar fossa. The H-T1WI images of the PL were centered at the lower margin of the patella and the center of the tibial tuberosity. The lengths of the PL and ACL were measured using a Radworks 5.1 workstation. ACL and PL lengths were compared between left and right knees and between genders, and left PL length measurements obtained separately by three doctors underwent correlation analysis. The quality of the images satisfied the clinical measurement requirements. The duration of sagittal image acquisition was 2 min and 25 s. The average PL length was 42.20 ± 4.21 and 40.15 ± 4.00 mm, and the average ACL length was 36.98 ± 4.12 and 35.80 ± 4.67 mm, in male and female subjects, respectively. The intraclass correlation coefficients of the PL lengths obtained by the three specialists were greater than 0.997. This MRI technique provides highly stable and repeatable in vivo data of PL and ACL geometry relevant to ACL reconstruction surgery with PL grafts.