Technical Briefs

Comparison of MRI-Based Estimates of Articular Cartilage Contact Area in the Tibiofemoral Joint

[+] Author and Article Information
Christopher E. Henderson

Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, 201A Spencer Laboratory, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716chende@udel.edu

Jill S. Higginson

Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, 201A Spencer Laboratory, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716higginson@udel.edu

Peter J. Barrance

Rehabilitation Engineering and Analysis Laboratory, Kessler Foundation Research Center, 1199 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange, NJ 07052pbarrance@kesslerfoundation.org

J Biomech Eng 133(1), 014502 (Dec 23, 2010) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002938 History: Received September 13, 2010; Revised October 13, 2010; Posted November 02, 2010; Published December 23, 2010; Online December 23, 2010

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) detrimentally impacts the lives of millions of older Americans through pain and decreased functional ability. Unfortunately, the pathomechanics and associated deviations from joint homeostasis that OA patients experience are not well understood. Alterations in mechanical stress in the knee joint may play an essential role in OA; however, existing literature in this area is limited. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of an existing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based modeling method to estimate articular cartilage contact area in vivo. Imaging data of both knees were collected on a single subject with no history of knee pathology at three knee flexion angles. Intra-observer reliability and sensitivity studies were also performed to determine the role of operator-influenced elements of the data processing on the results. The method’s articular cartilage contact area estimates were compared with existing contact area estimates in the literature. The method demonstrated an intra-observer reliability of 0.95 when assessed using Pearson’s correlation coefficient and was found to be most sensitive to changes in the cartilage tracings on the peripheries of the compartment. The articular cartilage contact area estimates at full extension were similar to those reported in the literature. The relationships between tibiofemoral articular cartilage contact area and knee flexion were also qualitatively and quantitatively similar to those previously reported. The MRI-based knee modeling method was found to have high intra-observer reliability, sensitivity to peripheral articular cartilage tracings, and agreeability with previous investigations when using data from a single healthy adult. Future studies will implement this modeling method to investigate the role that mechanical stress may play in progression of knee OA through estimation of articular cartilage contact area.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Correlation of two tracings of same MRI set after 30 days had passed

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 2

Articular cartilage contact area estimate at partial weightbearing. Points represent mean of original and retracing. Both compartments demonstrate a decrease in articular cartilage contact area with increasing knee flexion.



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