3T MR beats 1.5T for ulnar wrist pain imaging

December 1, 2008

The orthopedic world of tiny structures and joints presents unique challenges in diagnostic imaging. With traditional 1.5T scanning, spatial resolution, imaging speed, and signal-tonoise ratios have left orthopedists wanting more. A new study indicates the move to advanced 3T imaging might be ideal for orthopedics.

The orthopedic world of tiny structures and joints presents unique challenges in diagnostic imaging. With traditional 1.5T scanning, spatial resolution, imaging speed, and signal-tonoise ratios have left orthopedists wanting more. A new study indicates the move to advanced 3T imaging might be ideal for orthopedics.

The study, published in the September issue of the Journal of Hand Surgery, found greater sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy in identifying a specific joint tear with MR scans at 3T than at 1.5T. Radiologist Dr. Meredith Amderson and colleagues at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, compiled diagnostic MRIs of 102 patients presenting with ulnar-sided wrist pain over the last decade. The radiologists identified a tear of the triangular fibrocartilage complex, a small segment of cartilage in the wrist joint, in the majority of cases, but with greater detail at 3T than at 1.5T imaging.

"We can hopefully prevent the unnecessary use of diagnostic arthroscopy," Amderson said. "Reducing the risks of needless surgery can make a huge difference in orthopedic patient care."

-By Amy Lillard