A comparison of multi-echo spin-echo and triple-echo steady-state T2 mapping for in vivo evaluation of articular cartilage

Vladimir Juras, Klaus Bohndorf, Rahel Heule, Claudia Kronnerwetter, Pavol Szomolanyi, Benedikt Hager, Oliver Bieri, Stefan Zbyn, Siegfried Trattnig

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31 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1905-1912
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The scientific guarantor of this publication is Prof. Siegfried Trattnig, MD. The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article. This study has received funding by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) P 25246 B24 and Slovak Grant Agency APVV-0431-12. One of the authors has significant statistical expertise. Institutional review board approval was obtained. Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects (patients) in this study. Methodology: prospective, cross sectional study, performed at one institution.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, The Author(s).


  • CPMG
  • Cartilage
  • Osteoarthritis
  • T2 mapping
  • TESS


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