Objective: To develop a methodology for generating templates that represent the normal human patellofemoral joint (PFJ) topography and cartilage thickness, based on a statistical average of healthy joints. Also, to determine the cartilage thickness in the PFJs of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and develop a methodology for comparing an individual patient's thickness maps to the normal templates in order to identify regions that are most likely to represent loss of cartilage thickness. Design: The patella and femur surfaces of 14 non-arthritic human knee joints were quantified using either stereophotogrammetry or magnetic resonance imaging. The surfaces were aligned, scaled, and averaged to create articular topography templates. Cartilage thicknesses were measured across the surfaces and averaged to create maps of normal cartilage thickness distribution. In vivo thickness maps of articular layers from 33 joints with OA were also generated, and difference maps were created depicting discrepancies between the patients' cartilage thickness maps and the normative template. Results: In the normative template, the surface-wide mean±SD (maximum) of the cartilage thickness was 2.2±0.4 mm (3.7 mm) and 3.3±0.6 mm (4.6 mm) for the femur and patella, respectively. It was demonstrated that difference maps could be used to identify regions of thinner-than-normal cartilage in patients with OA. Patients were shown to have statistically greater regions of thin cartilage over their articular layers than the normal joints. On average, patients showed deficits in cartilage thickness in the lateral facet of the patella, in the anterior medial and lateral condyles, and in the lateral trochlea of the femur. Conclusions: This technique can be useful for in vivo clinical evaluation of cartilage thinning in the osteoarthritic patellofemoral joint.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported in part by funds from the Whitaker Foundation Biomedical Engineering Development Award, and the Steadman-Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation.
This study was supported in part by Whitaker Foundation Biomedical Engineering Development Award, Steadman–Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation.
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- Articular cartilage