Objectives: To assess the clinical relevance of T2 relaxation times, measured by 3D triple-echo steady-state (3D-TESS), in knee articular cartilage compared to conventional multi-echo spin-echo T2-mapping. Methods: Thirteen volunteers and ten patients with focal cartilage lesions were included in this prospective study. All subjects underwent 3-Tesla MRI consisting of a multi-echo multi-slice spin-echo sequence (CPMG) as a reference method for T2 mapping, and 3D TESS with the same geometry settings, but variable acquisition times: standard (TESSs 4:35min) and quick (TESSq 2:05min). T2 values were compared in six different regions in the femoral and tibial cartilage using a Wilcoxon signed ranks test and the Pearson correlation coefficient (r). The local ethics committee approved this study, and all participants gave written informed consent. Results: The mean quantitative T2 values measured by CPMG (mean: 46±9ms) in volunteers were significantly higher compared to those measured with TESS (mean: 31±5ms) in all regions. Both methods performed similarly in patients, but CPMG provided a slightly higher difference between lesions and native cartilage (CPMG: 90ms→61ms [31%],p=0.0125;TESS 32ms→24ms [24%],p=0.0839). Conclusions: 3D-TESS provides results similar to those of a conventional multi-echo spin-echo sequence with many benefits, such as shortening of total acquisition time and insensitivity to B1 and B0 changes. Key points: • 3D-TESS T2mapping provides clinically comparable results to CPMG in shorter scan-time. • Clinical and investigational studies may benefit from high temporal resolution of 3D-TESS. • 3D-TESS T2values are able to differentiate between healthy and damaged cartilage.
- T2 mapping