Background: Although T1rho and T2 map magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have been perceived as useful diagnostic modalities for cartilage degeneration, no studies have assessed whether these two sequences are useful for monitoring ACL graft maturation after ACL reconstruction. The present study examined whether the two sequences reflect graft function and maturation after ACL reconstruction. Methods: Twenty consecutive patients who consented to undergo MRI at 3, 6, and 12 months after double-bundle ACL reconstruction were enrolled. MRI was performed using T1 rho and T2 map sequences in a single session. Temporal changes in T1rho and T2 values of a purely tendinous portion of graft were assessed at each time point. Correlations were analyzed between T1rho or T2 map values and clinical results, including anteroposterior laxity at 2 and 4 years postoperatively, pivot shift test results at 4 years, and graft tension on second-look arthroscopy. Separate analyses were performed for the anteromedial bundle (AMB) and posterolateral bundle (PLB). Results: T1rho sequence was able to visualize the tendinous portions of AMB and PLB more clearly than T2 map sequence even on gray-scale images. Mean T1rho and T2 map values gradually decreased during the first operative year, but the trend was more prominent and consistent for T1rho values than for T2 map values. Correlation analysis revealed that T1rho and T2 map values at 1 year correlated significantly with anteroposterior laxity at 2 and 4 years. This trend was found in both AMB and PLB. Both T1rho and T2 map values failed to exhibit a statistical correlation with arthroscopic findings of graft tension. Conclusions: The present study was the first trial to assess the feasibility of T1rho and T2 map sequences to objectively monitor the course of graft maturation after ACL reconstruction. Both sequences successfully detected purely tendinous portions of graft, and mean values gradually decreased during the first year postoperatively. Both values at 1 year correlated significantly with anteroposterior laxity of the knee joint at 4 years, indicating that the values reflected graft fate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine