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3-D joint space mapping at the ankle from weight-bearing CT: reproducibility, repeatability, and challenges for standardisation.

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Malhotra, Karan 
MacKay, James W 
Gee, Andrew H 
Treece, Graham M 


OBJECTIVES: We present a 3-D approach to joint space width (JSW) measurement across the ankle from weight-bearing CT (WBCT) to demonstrate inter-operator reproducibility, test-retest repeatability, and how differences in angulation affect ankle JSW distribution. METHODS: One side from repeat WBCT imaging of both feet and ankles was analysed from 23 individuals as part of their routine clinical care pathway. Joint space mapping was performed at four facets across the talus: talonavicular, talar dome and medial gutter (dome-medial), lateral gutter, and posterior subtalar. Inter-operator reproducibility was calculated for two users, while test-retest repeatability was calculated by comparing the two visits, both presented as Bland-Altman statistics. Statistical parametric mapping determined any significant relationships between talocrural joint space angulation and 3-D JSW distribution. RESULTS: The average ± standard deviation interval between imaging was 74.0 ± 29.6 days. Surface averaged bias ± limits of agreement were similar for reproducibility and repeatability, the latter being: talonavicular 0.01 ± 0.26 mm, dome-medial 0.00 ± 0.28 mm, lateral gutter - 0.02 ± 0.40 mm, and posterior subtalar 0.02 ± 0.34 mm. Results are presented as 3-D distribution maps, with optimum test-retest repeatability reaching a smallest detectable difference of ± 0.15 mm. CONCLUSIONS: Joint space mapping is a robust approach to 3-D quantification of JSW measurement, inter-operator reproducibility, and test-retest repeatability at the ankle, with sensitivity reaching a best value of ± 0.15 mm. Standardised imaging protocols and optimised metal artefact reduction will be needed to further understand the clinical value of these 3-D measures derived from WBCT. CLINICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: Weight-bearing computed tomography is an increasingly important tool in the clinical assessment of orthopaedic ankle disorders. This paper establishes the performance of measuring 3-D joint space width using this technology, which is an important surrogate marker for severity of osteoarthritis. KEY POINTS: • Joint space width values and error metrics from across the ankle measured from weight-bearing CT can be presented as 3-D maps that show topographic variation. • The best sensitivity for detecting meaningful change in 3-D joint space width at the ankle was ± 0.15 mm, a value less than the isotropic imaging voxel dimensions. • Standardised imaging protocols and optimised metal artefact reduction will be needed to understand the clinical value of 3-D measures from weight-bearing CT.



Ankle joint, Cone-beam computed tomography, Osteoarthritis, Reproducibility of results, Weight-bearing, Humans, Ankle, Ankle Joint, Reproducibility of Results, Tomography, X-Ray Computed, Weight-Bearing

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Eur Radiol

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
National Institute for Health and Care Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)
Evelyn Trust (16011)
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) (146281)