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Human Hip Joint Cartilage: MRI Quantitative Thickness and Volume Measurements Discriminating Acetabulum and Femoral Head

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6 Author(s)

This paper aims at developing a quantitative system for measuring human hip cartilage thickness and volume using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A new MRI-acquisition technique, named axial rotation, where the acquisition planes are organized around a virtual axis, was used. The MRI protocol consists of a 2-D multiple-echo data image combination (MEDIC) using water excitation. Inner and outer interface contours of acetabulum and femoral head cartilage are obtained using a semiautomated 3-D segmentation method and combined to form 3-D surfaces. A local spherical coordinate system computed from the original contours enables cartilage thickness and volume computation. An anatomical labeling is performed automatically for thickness and volume measurements in predefined subregions: inferior, anterior, superior, and posterior. A registration module is introduced allowing the assessment of cartilage changes over time. Validation of the system was conducted with three protocols each involving data obtained from nine subjects: 1) registration process accuracy; 2) intrareader reproducibility; and 3) intervisit coefficient of variation. Data showed excellent correlation coefficients for either the intrareader (r ges 0.0942, p < 0.0001) or intervisit (r ges 0.0837, p < 0.005) protocols. This noninvasive system, which enables the quantification of cartilage thickness and volume in the human hip joint using MRI, is the first to discriminate the acetabular and femoral head cartilage throughout the entire hip without the use of an external device, and to implement hip registration for follow-up studies on the same subject.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:55 ,  Issue: 12 )