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Muscle, Ligaments and Tendons Journal

Assessment of different fitting methods for in-vivo bi-component T2* analysis of human patellar tendon in magnetic resonance imaging

Original Article, 163 - 172
doi: 10.11138/mltj/2017.7.1.163
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Abstract
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Purpose: To investigate the robustness of four fitting methods for bi-component effective spin-spin T2 (T2*) relaxation time analysis of human patellar tendon.
Methods: A three-dimensional (3D) cone ultrashort echo-time (UTE) sequence was performed on the knees of ten healthy volunteers at 3.0T.
Four fitting methods incorporating either Gaussian or Rician noise distribution were used for voxel- by-voxel bi-component T2* analysis of the patellar tendon. The T2* for the short relaxing (T**,s) and long relaxing (T*2,l) water components and the fraction of the short relaxing water component (fs) were measured, and different fitting methods were compared using Friedman’s and Wilcoxon signed rank tests. A numerical simulation study was also performed to predict the accuracy and precision of bi-component T2* parameter
estimation in tendon at different signal-tonoise ratios (SNR) levels.
Results: The average T*2,s , T*2,l, fs of human patellar tendon were 1.5ms, 30ms, and 80% respectively. Incorporating different noise models and fitting methods influenced the measured bi-component T2* parameters. Fitting methods incorporating Rician noise were superior to traditional fitting methods for bi-component T2* analysis especially at lower SNR. fs and T*2,s were less sensitive than T*2,1 to noise at even moderate and low SNR. The result of the in-vivo bi-component T2* analysis of tendon agreed well with numerical simulations.
Conclusion: Our study demonstrated the use of a 3D cone UTE sequence to perform in vivo voxelby-voxel bi-component T2* analysis of human patellar tendon. Incorporating Rician noise was useful for improving bi-component T2* analysis especially at lower SNR.
Level of evidence: IV.

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