Cartilage and soft tissue imaging using X-rays: propagation-based phase-contrast computed tomography of the human knee in comparison with clinical imaging techniques and histology.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES This study evaluates high-resolution tomographic x-ray phase-contrast imaging in whole human knee joints for the depiction of soft tissue with emphasis on hyaline cartilage. The method is compared with conventional computed tomography (CT), synchrotron radiation absorption-based CT, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MATERIAL AND METHODS After approval of the institutional review board, 2 cadaveric human knees were examined at an synchrotron institution using a monochromatic x-ray beam of 60 keV, a detector with a 90-mm field of view, and a pixel size of 46 × 46 μm. Images of phase-contrast imaging CT were reconstructed with the filtered back projection algorithm and the equally sloped tomography method. Image quality and tissue contrast were evaluated and compared in all modalities and with histology. RESULTS Phase-contrast imaging provides visualization of altered cartilage regions invisible in absorption CT with simultaneous high detail of the underlying bony abnormalities. The delineation of surface changes is similar to 3-T MRI using cartilage-dedicated sequences. Phase-contrast imaging CT presents soft tissue contrast surpassing that of conventional CT with a clear discrimination of ligamentous, muscular, neural, and vascular structures. In addition, phase-contrast imaging images show cartilage and meniscal calcifications that are not perceptible on conventional CT or on MRI. CONCLUSIONS Phase-contrast imaging CT may facilitate a more complete evaluation of the human knee joint by providing concurrent comprehensive information about cartilage, the underlying subchondral bone, and their changes in osteoarthritic conditions.

DOI: 10.1097/RLI.0000000000000063
050201520162017
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@article{Horng2014CartilageAS, title={Cartilage and soft tissue imaging using X-rays: propagation-based phase-contrast computed tomography of the human knee in comparison with clinical imaging techniques and histology.}, author={Annie Horng and Emmanuel Brun and Alberto Mittone and Sergei V Gasilov and Loriane Weber and Tobias Geith and Silvia Adam-Neumair and Sigrid Auweter and Alberto Bravin and Maximilian Reiser and Paola Coan}, journal={Investigative radiology}, year={2014}, volume={49 9}, pages={627-34} }