Alignment does not influence cartilage T2 in asymptomatic knee joints

M. Sauerschnig, J. S. Bauer, L. Kohn, S. Hinterwimmer, S. Landwehr, K. Woertler, P. M. Jungmann, W. Koestler, P. Niemeyer, A. B. Imhoff, G. M. Salzmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate whether the static knee alignment affects articular cartilage ultrastructures when measured using T2 relaxation among asymptomatic subjects. Methods: Both knee joints (n = 96) of 48 asymptomatic volunteers (26 females, 22 males; 25.4 ± 1.7 years; no history of major knee trauma or surgery) were evaluated clinically (Lysholm, Tegner) and by MRI (hip-knee-ankle angle, standard knee protocol, T2 mapping). Group (n = 4) division was as follows: neutral (<1° varus/valgus), mild varus (2°-4° varus), severe varus (>4° varus) and valgus (2°-4° valgus) deformity with n = 12 subjects/group; n = 24 knees/group. Regions of interest (ROI) for T2 assessment were placed within full-thickness cartilage across the whole joint surface and were divided respecting compartmental as well as functional joint anatomy. Results: Leg alignment was 0.7° ± 0.5° varus among neutral, 3.0° ± 0.6° varus among mild varus, 5.0° ± 1.1° varus among severe varus and 2.5° ± 0.7° valgus among valgus group subjects and thus significantly different. No differences between the groups emerged from clinical measures. No morphological pathology was detected in any knee joint. Global T2 values (42.3 ± 2.3; 37.7-47.9 ms) of ROIs placed within every knee joint per subject were not different between alignment groups or between genders, respectively. Conclusion: Static frontal plane leg malalignment does not affect cartilage ultrastructure among young, asymptomatic individuals as measured by T2 quantitative imaging. Level of evidence: Cross-sectional study, Level II-III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1396-1403
Number of pages8
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cartilage
  • MRI
  • Malalignment
  • T2 Mapping


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