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Signs of patellar chondromalacia on sagittal T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging


We incidentally noted distinctive high signal defects or fissures in the patellar articular cartilage on sagittal T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) images in 4 patients. At subsequent arthroscopy all 4 patients were found to have patellar chondromalacia. To determine the reliability of these signs, we retrospectively evaluated, in a blinded manner, sagittal T2-weighted MR images of the knee in 75 patients who were undergoing arthroscopic assessment of their patellar articular cartilage. We identified high signal defects or fissures in the patellar cartilage of 5 patients. Patellar chondromalacia was noted at arthroscopy in all 5 patients. Arthroscopy demonstrated patellar chondromalacia in an additional 21 patients with normal MR images. We conclude that high signal defects or fissures on sagittal T2-weighted images are useful signs of patellar chondromalacia. This single imaging sequence will, however, detect only a small number of the cartilage lesions that may be present.

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Correspondence to Arthur A. De Smet M.D..

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De Smet, A.A., Monu, J.U.V., Fisher, D.R. et al. Signs of patellar chondromalacia on sagittal T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. Skeletal Radiol. 21, 103–105 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00241832

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Key words

  • Chondromalacia
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Sagittal T2-weighted imaging