Institutional review board approval and informed consent were obtained for this HIPAA-compliant study, whose purpose was to prospectively compare three magnetic resonance (MR) imaging techniques-fluctuating equilibrium, three-dimensional (3D) spoiled gradient-recalled acquisition in the steady state (SPGR), and two-dimensional (2D) fast spin echo (SE)-for evaluating articular cartilage in the knee. The study cohort consisted of 10 healthy volunteers (four men, six women; age range, 26-42 years). Cartilage signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), SNR efficiency, cartilage-fluid contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), CNR efficiency, image quality, cartilage visibility, and fat suppression were compared. Cartilage volume was compared for the fluctuating equilibrium and 3D SPGR techniques. Compared with 3D SPGR and 2D fast SE, fluctuating equilibrium yielded the highest cartilage SNR efficiency and cartilage-fluid CNR efficiency (P < .01 for both). Image quality was similar with all sequences. Fluctuating equilibrium imaging yielded higher cartilage visibility than did 2D fast SE imaging (P <. 01) but worse fat suppression than did 3D SPGR and 2D fast SE imaging (P < .04). Cartilage volume measurements with fluctuating equilibrium and 3D SPGR were similar. Fluctuating equilibrium MR imaging is a promising method for evaluating articular cartilage in the knee.
View details for DOI 10.1148/radiol.2381042183
View details for Web of Science ID 000234859100040
View details for PubMedID 16436826