MRI of the ankle joint in healthy non-athletes and in marathon runners: Image quality issues at 7.0 T compared to 1.5 T

J. M. Theysohn*, O. Kraff, S. Maderwald, P. C. Kokulinsky, M. E. Ladd, J. Barkhausen, S. C. Ladd

*Corresponding author for this work
8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To present imaging characteristics of the ankle at 7.0 T and to investigate the appearance and image quality of presumed pathologies of ankles without physical strain as well as of ankles after a marathon run in comparison to 1.5 T. Materials and methods: Appearance of presumed pathologic findings and image quality of TSE (PD, T2, and STIR) and GRE sequences (MEDIC, DESS, and/or CISS) at 7.0 T and 1.5 T MRI were compared by two senior radiologists in consensus in two healthy controls without strain and in six marathon runners after a full-length marathon (eight males, mean age 49.1 years). Results: Overall, 7.0 T MRI allowed for higher resolution images for most of the sequences while requiring comparable acquisition times and achieving high contrast images mainly in gradient echo sequences. Bursal or presumed peritendineal fluid and/or edematous tissue, which were found in seven of eight subjects, could be best appreciated with 7.0 T MEDIC. Other findings with sharper delineation at 7.0 T included cartilage defects (best: CISS), osseous avulsions, and osteophytes (best: DESS). Nevertheless, 1.5 T STIR imaging enabled assessment of a tibiotalar bone edema-like lesion in two runners, which was barely visible at 7.0 T using STIR, but not with any other sequence at 7.0 T including MEDIC (with frequency selective fat suppression). 7.0 T showed larger image quality variations with challenges especially in the TSE sequences. Conclusion: Our initial results of ultra-high-field ankle joint imaging demonstrate the improved depiction of ankle anatomy, fluid depositions, and cartilage defects. However imaging of edema-like bone lesions remains challenging at ultra-high magnetic field strength, and TSE coverage in particular is limited by the specific absorption rate.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)261-267
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2013


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