Three-dimensional magnetic resonance observation of cartilage repair tissue (MOCART) score assessed with an isotropic three-dimensional true fast imaging with steady-state precession sequence at 3.0 Tesla.Invest Radiol. 2009 Sep; 44(9):603-12.IR
Cartilage defects are common pathologies and surgical cartilage repair shows promising results. In its postoperative evaluation, the magnetic resonance observation of cartilage repair tissue (MOCART) score, using different variables to describe the constitution of the cartilage repair tissue and the surrounding structures, is widely used. High-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 3-dimensional (3D) isotropic sequences may combine ideal preconditions to enhance the diagnostic performance of cartilage imaging.Aim of this study was to introduce an improved 3D MOCART score using the possibilities of an isotropic 3D true fast imaging with steady-state precession (True-FISP) sequence in the postoperative evaluation of patients after matrix-associated autologous chondrocyte transplantation (MACT) as well as to compare the results to the conventional 2D MOCART score using standard MR sequences.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The study had approval by the local ethics commission. One hundred consecutive MR scans in 60 patients at standard follow-up intervals of 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, and 60 months after MACT of the knee joint were prospectively included. The mean follow-up interval of this cross-sectional evaluation was 21.4 +/- 20.6 months; the mean age of the patients was 35.8 +/- 9.4 years. MRI was performed at a 3.0 Tesla unit. All variables of the standard 2D MOCART score where part of the new 3D MOCART score. Furthermore, additional variables and options were included with the aims to use the capabilities of isotropic MRI, to include the results of recent studies, and to adapt to the needs of patients and physician in a clinical routine examination. A proton-density turbo spin-echo sequence, a T2-weighted dual fast spin-echo (dual-FSE) sequence, and a T1-weighted turbo inversion recovery magnitude (TIRM) sequence were used to assess the standard 2D MOCART score; an isotropic 3D-TrueFISP sequence was prepared to evaluate the new 3D MOCART score. All 9 variables of the 2D MOCART score were compared with the corresponding variables obtained by the 3D MOCART score using the Pearson correlation coefficient; additionally the subjective quality and possible artifacts of the MR sequences were analyzed.
The correlation between the standard 2D MOCART score and the new 3D MOCART showed for the 8 variables "defect fill," "cartilage interface," "surface," "adhesions," "structure," "signal intensity," "subchondral lamina," and "effusion"-a highly significant (P < 0.001) correlation with a Pearson coefficient between 0.566 and 0.932. The variable "bone marrow edema" correlated significantly (P < 0.05; Pearson coefficient: 0.257). The subjective quality of the 3 standard MR sequences was comparable to the isotropic 3D-TrueFISP sequence. Artifacts were more frequently visible within the 3D-TrueFISP sequence.
In the clinical routine follow-up after cartilage repair, the 3D MOCART score, assessed by only 1 high-resolution isotropic MR sequence, provides comparable information than the standard 2D MOCART score. Hence, the new 3D MOCART score has the potential to combine the information of the standard 2D MOCART score with the possible advantages of isotropic 3D MRI at high-field. A clear limitation of the 3D-TrueFISP sequence was the high number of artifacts. Future studies have to prove the clinical benefits of a 3D MOCART score.