Purpose: This study examined the feasibility of T2*-weighted imaging (T2*WI) gradient-echo MRI to reflect actual function of the graft after anatomic double-bundle ACL reconstruction. T2*WI and proton density-weighted imaging (PDWI) were compared in the assessment of ACL grafts. Method: Sixty-one patients underwent T2*WI and PDWI at 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Signal intensity of the anteromedial bundle (AMB) or posterolateral bundle (PLB) graft standardized to the intensity of the PCL was defined as signal intensity ratio (SIR). Correlations between degree of knee instability and SIR were assessed for each bundle, each time point, and each sequence. The diagnostic efficacy of T2*WI sequence to detect poorly functioning knee with anteroposterior translation ge4 mm was assessed. Results: Significant correlations were observed between SIR and KT values for both AMB and PLB at 12 months on T2*WI (r=0.39 and 0.53, respectively), but not on PDWI. Notably, 9 of 10 patients with poorly functioning graft showing anteroposterior translation ge4 mm at 12 months formed an isolated group with high T2*WI-SIR. Six of the 10 patients displayed an increase in SIR from 6 to 12 months. Defining anteroposterior translation ge4 mm at 12 months as the diagnostic standard for poorly functioning graft, increasing T2*WI-SIR offered 60% sensitivity and >90% specificity. Conclusions: ACL graft intensity on T2*WI is more strongly associated with actual function of the graft than that on PDWI. An increasing trend in T2*WI-SIR from 6 to 12 months postoperatively represents a possible surrogate indicator for poorly functioning grafts. Level of evidence: II.
- Anatomic double-bundle reconstruction
- Anterior cruciate ligament
- Graft maturation
- Magnetic resonance imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine