Low-field magnetic resonance imaging of the canine stifle joint: normal anatomy

Baird DK, Hathcock JT, Rumph PF, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 1998;39:87-97.

Low-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed on the stifle joints of four normal adult mongrel dogs using a 0.064 Tesla scanner. Markers were placed on each stifle joint to serve as reference points for comparing gross sections with the images. A T1-weighted sequence was used to image one stifle joint on each dog in the sagittal plane and the other stifle joint in the dorsal plane. The dogs were euthanized immediately following MRI and the stifle joints frozen intact. Each stifle joint was then embedded in paraffin, again frozen, and sectioned using the markers as reference points. On T1-weighted images, synovial fluid had low signal intensity (dark) compared to the infrapatellar fat pad which had a high signal intensity (bright). Articular cartilage was visualized as an intermediate bright signal and was separated from trabecular bone by a dark line representing subchondral bone. Menisci, fibrous joint capsule, and ligamentous structures appeared dark. In the true sagittal plane, the entire caudal cruciate ligament was often seen within one image slice. The patella was visualized as an intermediate bright signal (trabecular bone) surrounded by a low intensity signal (cortical bone). The trochlea and the intercondylar notch were difficult areas to analyze due to signal volume averaging of the curved surface of these areas and the presence of several types of tissues.