Recent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques have shown potential for measuring non-uniform deformations throughout the volume (i.e. three-dimensional (3D) deformations) in small orthopedic tissues such as articular cartilage. However, to analyze cartilage deformation using MRI techniques, a system is required which can construct images from multiple acquisitions of MRI signals from the cartilage in both the undeformed and deformed states. The objectives of the work reported in this article were to 1) design an apparatus that could apply highly repeatable cyclic compressive loads of 400 N and operate in the bore of an MRI scanner, 2) demonstrate that the apparatus and MRI scanner can be successfully integrated to observe 3D deformations in a phantom material, 3) use the apparatus to determine the load cycle necessary to achieve a steady-state deformation response in normal bovine articular cartilage samples using a flat-surfaced and nonporous indentor in unconfined compression. Composed of electronic and pneumatic components, the apparatus regulated pressure to a double-acting pneumatic cylinder so that (1) load-controlled compression cycles were applied to cartilage samples immersed in a saline bath, (2) loading and recovery periods within a cycle varied in time duration, and (3) load magnitude varied so that the stress applied to cartilage samples was within typical physiological ranges. In addition the apparatus allowed gating for MR image acquisition, and operation within the bore of an MRI scanner without creating image artifacts. The apparatus demonstrated high repeatability in load application with a standard deviation of 1.8% of the mean 400 N load applied. When the apparatus was integrated with an MRI scanner programmed with appropriate pulse sequences, images of a phantom material in both the undeformed and deformed states were constructed by assembling data acquired through multiple signal acquisitions. Additionally, the number of cycles to reach a steady-state response in normal bovine articular cartilage was 49 for a total cycle duration of 5 seconds, but decreased to 33 and 27 for increasing total cycle durations of 10 and 15 seconds, respectively. Once the steady-state response was achieved, 95% of all displacements were within of the mean displacement, indicating that the displacement response to the cyclic loads was highly repeatable. With this performance, the MRI-loading apparatus system meets the requirements to create images of articular cartilage from which 3D deformation can be determined.
Toward An MRI-Based Method to Measure Non-Uniform Cartilage Deformation: An MRI-Cyclic Loading Apparatus System and Steady-State Cyclic Displacement of Articular Cartilage Under Compressive Loading
Contributed by the Bioengineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Manuscript received December 2001; revised manuscript received November 2002. Associate Editor: G. A. Ateshian
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Neu, C. P., and Hull, M. L. (April 9, 2003). "Toward An MRI-Based Method to Measure Non-Uniform Cartilage Deformation: An MRI-Cyclic Loading Apparatus System and Steady-State Cyclic Displacement of Articular Cartilage Under Compressive Loading ." ASME. J Biomech Eng. April 2003; 125(2): 180–188. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1560141
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