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27.06.2017 | Scientific Article | Ausgabe 10/2017

Skeletal Radiology 10/2017

Magnetic resonance imaging in evaluation of tunnel diameters prior to revision ACL reconstruction: a comparison to computed tomography

Skeletal Radiology > Ausgabe 10/2017
Björn Holger Drews, Cornelia Merz, Jochen Huth, Daniel Gulkin, Joachim Guelke, Florian Gebhard, Frieder Mauch



Revision ACL reconstruction is becoming more frequent because of a 10% rate of re-ruptures and insufficiencies. Currently, computed tomography (CT) represents the gold standard in detecting and measuring the tunnels of the initial ACL reconstruction. The purpose of this study was to compare measurement results of CT and thin-sliced MRI sequences, which were modified to a high soft tissue-bone contrast.

Materials and methods

Prior to an ACL revision surgery, 16 consecutive patients had an MRI in addition to the standard CT scan. A dedicated 0.25-T Esaote G-Scan (Esaote Biomedica, Cologne, Germany) with a Turbo 3D T1 sequence was used for MRI. Tunnel diameters were measured at 11 defined points of interest. For the statistical evaluation, the Mann-Whitney U test for connected samples was used. Inter- and intraobserver reliability was additionally calculated.


All measured diameters showed significant to highly significant correlations between both diagnostic tools (r = 0.7–0.98). In addition, there was no significant difference (p > 0.5) between the two techniques. Almost all diameters showed nearly perfect intraobserver reliability (ICC 0.8–0.97). Interobserver reliability showed an ICC of 0.91/0.92 for only one diameter in MRI and CT.


Prior to ACL revision surgery, bone tunnel measurements can be done using a 3D T1-MRI sequence in low-field MRI. MRI measurements show the same accuracy as CT scans. Preoperative radiation exposure in mainly young patients could be reduced. Also the costs of an additional CT scan could be saved.

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