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Comparison of 3T and 7T magnetic resonance imaging for direct visualization of finger flexor pulley rupture: an ex-vivo study.

Skeletal Radiology 2024 April 13
OBJECTIVE: To compare image quality and diagnostic performance of 3T and 7T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for direct depiction of finger flexor pulleys A2, A3 and A4 before and after artificial pulley rupture in an ex-vivo model using anatomic preparation as reference.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: 30 fingers from 10 human cadavers were examined at 3T and 7T before and after being subjected to iatrogenic pulley rupture. MRI protocols were comparable in duration, both lasting less than 22 min. Two experienced radiologists evaluated the MRIs. Image quality was graded according to a 4-point Likert scale. Anatomic preparation was used as gold standard.

RESULTS: In comparison, 7T versus 3T had a sensitivity and specificity for the detection of A2, A3 and A4 pulley lesions with 100% vs. 95%, respectively 98% vs. 100%. In the assessment of A3 pulley lesions sensitivity of 7T was superior to 3T MRI (100% vs. 83%), whereas specificity was lower (95% vs. 100%). Image quality assessed before and after iatrogenic rupture was comparable with 2.74 for 7T and 2.61 for 3T. Visualization of the A3 finger flexor pulley before rupture creation was significantly better for 7 T (p < 0.001). Interobserver variability showed substantial agreement at 3T (κ = 0.80) and almost perfect agreement at 7T (κ = 0.90).

CONCLUSION: MRI at 3T allows a comparable diagnostic performance to 7T for direct visualization and characterization of finger flexor pulleys before and after rupture, with superiority of 7T MRI in the visualization of the normal A3 pulley.

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