Non-invasive Assessment of in Vivo Auricular Cartilage by Ultra-short Echo Time (UTE) \(T_{2}^{*}\) Mapping

  • Xue Li
  • Cheng Zhao
  • Weiwei ZhangEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11768)


In this paper, Ultra-short Echo Time (UTE) \(T_{2}^{*}\) mapping is proposed to non-invasively evaluate auricular cartilages from volunteers and donated bodies. The mono- and bi-exponential models were used for mono- and bi-component analysis (short component \(T_{2}^{*}\) and long component \(T_{2}^{*}\)) respectively. The external ears were manually segmented from images and then reconstructed into 3D \(T_{2}^{*}\) mappings. In the mono-component analysis, the mean \(T_{2}^{*}\) value for 3 volunteers was 34.987 ± 2.266 ms. As for results from the bi-component analysis, the mean values for 3 volunteers were 8.992 ± 0.466 ms and 53.648 ± 1.961 ms for short component \(T_{2}^{*}\) and long component \(T_{2}^{*}\) respectively, with the ratio of bound water to free water of 0.464 ± 0.020. The bi-exponential fitting model performed better than the mono-exponential fitting model on the curve fitting in volunteers, with \(R^{2}\)[bi] = 0.999 ± 0.131 vs. \(R^{2}\)[mono] = 0.972 ± 0.144. According to the bi-component analysis from donated specimens of auricular cartilage, the ratio of bound water to free water was 0.023 ± 0.018, which was significantly different from that of volunteers (p < 0.01), but the fitting curves of specimens showed similar findings with volunteers, with \(R^{2}\)[bi] = 0.999 ± 0.001 vs. \(R^{2}\)[mono] = 0.903 ± 0.005. Our preliminary results demonstrated that the proposed UTE \(T_{2}^{*}\) mapping is a feasible non-invasive means for evaluating the development of auricular cartilage scaffold with bio-inks in reconstructive surgery using 3D bioprinting technique.


Auricular cartilage Non-invasive assessment Ultra-short echo time \(T_{2}^{*}\) Component analysis 



This work is supported by CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (CIFMS) (2017-I2M-1-007). The donated specimens of auricular cartilage were provided by Human Tissue Bank, Neuroscience Center, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College. Authors would like to thank Chao Ma, Naili Wang from the above center, and Rui Li, Le He, Yandong Zhu from Center for Biomedical Imaging Research Department of Biomedical Engineering School of Medicine, Tsinghua University, for their supports.


  1. 1.
    Bly, R.A., Bhrany, A.D., Murakami, C.S., et al.: Microtia reconstruction. Facial Plast. Surg. Clin. North Am. 24(4), 577–591 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Patel, R.S., Katzen, B.T.: Autologous costochondral microtia reconstruction. Facial Plast. Surg. 32(2), 188–198 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mussi, E., Furferi, R., et al.: Ear reconstruction simulation: from handcrafting to 3D printing. Bioengineering 6(1), 14 (2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Reiffel, A.J., Concepcion, K., Hernandez, K.A., et al.: High-fidelity tissue engineering of patient-specific auricles for reconstruction of pediatric microtia and other auricular deformities. PLoS One 8(2), e56506 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Schroeder, M.J., Lloyd, M.S.: Tissue engineering strategies for auricular reconstruction. J. Craniofac. Surg. 28(8), 2007–2011 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cohen, P., Bernstein, J.L., et al.: Tissue engineering the human auricle by auricular chondrocyte-mesenchymal stem cell co-implantation. PLoS One 13(10), e0202356 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Otto, I.A., Melchels, F.P.W., Zhao, X., et al.: Auricular reconstruction using biofabrication-based tissue engineering strategies. Biofabrication 7(3), 032001 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wilkes, G.H., Wong, J., Guilfoyle, R.: Microtia reconstruction. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 134(3), 464e–479e (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chen, Z., Yan, C., Yan, S.: Non-invasive monitoring of in vivo hydrogel degradation and cartilage regeneration by multiparametric MR imaging. Theranostics 8(4), 1146–1158 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chang, E.Y., Du, J., Chung, C.B.: UTE imaging in the musculoskeletal system. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 41(4), 870–883 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kijowski, R., Wilson, J.J., Liu, F.: Bicomponent ultrashort echo time \(T_{2}^{*}\) analysis for assessment of patients with patellar tendinopathy: ultrashort TE \(T_{2}^{*}\) Analysis of Tendinopathy. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 46(5), 1441–1447 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Link, T.M., Neumann, J., Li, X.: Prestructural cartilage assessment using MRI. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 45(4), 949–965 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Juras, V., Apprich, S., Szomolanyi, P., et al.: Bi-exponential \(T_{2}^{*}\) analysis of healthy and diseased Achilles tendons: an in vivo preliminary magnetic resonance study and correlation with clinical score. Eur. Radiol. 23(10), 2814–2822 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Diaz, E., Chung, C.B., Bae, W.C., et al.: Ultrashort echo time spectroscopic imaging (UTESI): an efficient method for quantifying bound and free water. NMR Biomed. 25(1), 161–168 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Cameron, I.L., Short, N.J., Fullerton, G.D., et al.: Verification of simple hydration/dehydration methods to characterize multiple water compartments on tendon type 1 collagen. Cell Biol. Int. 31(6), 531–539 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Du, J., Diaz, E., Carl, M., et al.: Ultrashort echo time imaging with bicomponent analysis. Magn. Reson. Med. 67(3), 645–649 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Basic Medical SciencesChinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical CollageBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations