There are several imaging-based measurements for patello-femoral height. Available methods rely predominantly on sagittal images. The latter can be misleading with sagittal oblique slices and when the patella is tilted and/or chronically subluxed. In this study we describe a simple method of patellar height measurement using axial MRI overlap.
Materials And Methods
A retrospective observational analysis of 97 knees from 251 patients was conducted. Cases were selected following the exclusion of scans with fractures, massive effusion, patello-femoral pathology. Axial patello-trochlear overlap (APTO) was measured on the axial MRI images as follows: (1) Patellar length (P): expressed as the number of axial images showing patellar articular surface (2) Trochlear overlap (T): the number of axial images showing overlap between patellar articular surface and articular surface of lateral trochlea. APTO is the ratio T/P. All measurements were carried out independently and on two separate occasions by 6 raters 2 orthopaedic consultants, one knee surgery fellow, 2 consultant musculoskeletal radiologists and one radiology fellow. As a control conventional patello-trochlear index were measured for all patients by a senior musculoskeletal radiologist.
The mean APTO value was 36.7 (range 14.2 to 66.6; SD 11.4). There was a positive correlation with patello-trochlear index (Pearson correlation coefficient: 0.76, P < 0.001). Intra-observer reliability was good (ICC: 0.66 95 CI 0.54, 0.76, P < 0.001). Inter-observer reliability was fair (ICC: 0.51, 95 CI 0.41, 0.6, P < 0.001).
In the present proof of concept study APTO was shown to be a reliable measurement of patellar height and correlated with patella-trochlear indices. The method described can prove valuable in overcoming issues with sagittal image measurements.