The objectives of this study were to compare the ultrashort T2∗ relaxation time with the T2∗ relaxation time using the 3 dimensional (3D) cones sequence in 3 groups of patients with normal, degenerated, and torn knee menisci, and to demonstrate the additional effect of the ultrashort echo time (UTE) signal intensity. Following institutional review board approval, 42 knee magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of 42 patients who presented with knee pain and underwent knee MRIs, with the 3D Cones of UTE sequence (minimum TEs: 32 ms) and a 3T MRI scanner (Discovery 750, GE Healthcare, Waukesha, WI), were analyzed. The enrolled patients were classified into 3 subgroups: normal meniscus on conventional MRI, with no positive meniscus-related physical examination in medical records; meniscal degeneration with signal changes on conventional MRI; and meniscal tear. For the quantitative assessment, the mean values inside user-drawn regions of interest (ROIs) of the medial menisci were drawn on UTE T2∗ map and T2∗ map. For statistical analyses, 1-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with post-hoc analysis using the Tukey HSD test was conducted to compare groups, and effect size was used to compare the discrimination power. The ultrashort T2∗ relaxation times were higher in patients with meniscal tear than in those with normal and degeneration groups (P <.05, respectively) whereas T2∗ relaxation times were not statistically significantly different. The ultrashort T2∗ relaxation times showed higher effect sizes than the T2∗ times between tear and normal/degeneration. The ultrashort T2∗ relaxation times showed better delineation of meniscal degeneration or tears than T2∗ relaxation times. The ultrashort T2∗ relaxation times could be more sensitive at differentiating between normal and pathologic meniscal conditions in patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes