• 3T;
  • cartilage quantification;
  • magnetic resonance imaging;
  • porcine knee


To assess the utility of knee cartilage volumetry using an unspoiled fat-suppressed 3D fast gradient echo (FGRE) sequence at 3T.

Materials and Methods

Sagittal magnetic resonance (MR) images were obtained with an unspoiled fat-suppressed 3D FGRE sequence in eight porcine knees. Manual segmentation was used to derive the cartilage volume. This volume was compared to a volume measurement of cartilage scraping specimens obtained by water displacement. Imaging was repeated five times in four of the knees to assess interscan volume measurement reproducibility and calculate precision error. A single 3D dataset was manually segmented five times at weekly intervals to assess intraobserver volume measurement reproducibility.


Total cartilage volume obtained from MRI and water displacement correlated well (r = 0.75). The interscan reproducibility of total volume measurements, expressed as the coefficient of variation (CV), was 4.2%, and the precision error (root mean square [RMS] CV) was 4.1%. The CV of intraobserver estimates of total cartilage volume by MRI was 3.6%.


Interscan reproducibility of quantification of total cartilage volume and reproducibility of the manual segmentation technique were both high (>95%). Accurate and reproducible cartilage volumetry can be obtained by using a clinical unspoiled fat-suppressed 3D FGRE acquired at 3T MRI. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;38:245–250. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.