Advanced morphological 3D magnetic resonance observation of cartilage repair tissue (MOCART) scoring using a new isotropic 3D proton-density, turbo spin echo sequence with variable flip angle distribution (PD-SPACE) compared to an isotropic 3D steady-state free precession sequence (True-FISP) and standard 2D sequences




To evaluate a new isotropic 3D proton-density, turbo-spin-echo sequence with variable flip-angle distribution (PD-SPACE) sequence compared to an isotropic 3D true-fast-imaging with steady-state-precession (True-FISP) sequence and 2D standard MR sequences with regard to the new 3D magnetic resonance observation of cartilage repair tissue (MOCART) score.

Materials and Methods

Sixty consecutive MR scans on 37 patients (age: 32.8 ± 7.9 years) after matrix-associated autologous chondrocyte transplantation (MACT) of the knee were prospectively included. The 3D MOCART score was assessed using the standard 2D sequences and the multiplanar-reconstruction (MPR) of both isotropic sequences. Statistical, Bonferroni-corrected correlation as well as subjective quality analysis were performed.


The correlation of the different sequences was significant for the variables defect fill, cartilage interface, bone interface, surface, subchondral lamina, chondral osteophytes, and effusion (Pearson coefficients 0.514–0.865). Especially between the standard sequences and the 3D True-FISP sequence, the variables structure, signal intensity, subchondral bone, and bone marrow edema revealed lower, not significant, correlation values (0.242–0.383). Subjective quality was good for all sequences (P ≥ 0.05). Artifacts were most often visible on the 3D True-FISP sequence (P < 0.05).


Different isotropic sequences can be used for the 3D evaluation of cartilage repair with the benefits of isotropic 3D MRI, MPR, and a significantly reduced scan time, where the 3D PD-SPACE sequence reveals the best results. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2011;33:180–188. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.