Effects Of Stifle Flexion Angle And Scan Plane On Visibility Of The Normal Canine Cranial Cruciate Ligament Using Low-Field Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Podadera J, Gavin P, Saveraid T, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2014;55:407-413.

Low-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used to evaluate dogs with suspected cranial cruciate ligament injury; however, effects of stifle positioning and scan plane on visualization of the ligament are incompletely understood. Six stifle joints (one pilot, five test) were collected from dogs that were scheduled for euthanasia due to reasons unrelated to the stifle joint. Each stifle joint was scanned in three angles of flexion (90°, 135°, 145°) and eight scan planes (three dorsal, three axial, two sagittal), using the same low-field MRI scanner and T2-weighted fast spin echo scan protocol. Two experienced observers who were unaware of scan technique independently scored visualization of the cranial cruciate ligament in each scan using a scale of 0–3. Visualization score rank sums were higher when the stifle was flexed at 90° compared to 145°, regardless of the scan plane. Visualization scores for the cranial cruciate ligament in the dorsal (H (2) = 19.620, P = 0.000), axial (H (2) = 14.633, P = 0.001), and sagittal (H (2) = 8.143, P = 0.017) planes were significantly affected by the angle of stifle flexion. Post hoc analysis showed that the ligament was best visualized at 90° compared to 145° in the dorsal (Z = −3.906, P = 0.000), axial (Z = −3.398, P = 0.001), and sagittal (Z = −2.530, P = 0.011) planes. Findings supported the use of a 90° flexed stifle position for maximizing visualization of the cranial cruciate ligament using low-field MRI in dogs.