Aim: The increased demands placed on the Achilles tendon in recreational and professional sports have led to a rise in pathological changes in this anatomic region. Magnetic resonance evaluations of the tendon have proven to be a valid but expensive and stationary diagnostic tool. In this study, a new mobile NMR sensor was to be tested in the evaluation of the Achilles tendon. Method: The technical development of the so-called NMR-MOUSE® (Mobile Universal Surface Explorer) represents a novelty with an open and portable sensor. To appraise its diagnostic efficacy, healthy athletes (professional soccer players, track and field, as well as aquatic athletes), healthy controls and patients with Achilles tendon lesions were evaluated. As an accessible, sensitive and reproducible parameter for the study the transverse relaxation time T2 with its angular dependency was chosen. As part of the examination, the relaxation times of the skin, the tendon and the surrounding soft tissue were determined. Results: During the evaluation with the NMR-MOUSE, the skin and peritendinous tissue exhibited relatively long T2 relaxation times, while the tendon itself had significantly shorter T2 times, allowing for a clear differentiation of the structures. The T2 relaxation time of the Achilles tendon in the control group averaged 5.8 ms. The MRI-MOUSE was able to demonstrate an increase in the T2 relaxation times in patients with pathological lesions of the tendon due to the increased water retention of the tissue. Conclusion: The novel NMR-MOUSE represents a cost efficient and portable sensor, which allows for a reliable evaluation of surface structures, such as the Achilles tendon. The anisotropic structure of the tendon and the surrounding soft tissue can be reliably differentiated with the help of the NMR-MOUSE.
Miltner, A. Schwaiger, C. Schmidt, A. Bücker, C. Kölker, C.H. Siebert, K.W. Zilkens, F.U. Niethard, B. Blümich, Mobile NMR-MOUSE®: eine neue Methode und erste Anwendung an der Achillessehne, Z-Orthop 141 (2002) 148-152; DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-38657