A new method is presented for measuring joint kinematics by optimally matching modeled trajectories of geometric surface models of bones with cine phase contrast (cine-PC) magnetic resonance imaging data. The incorporation of the geometric bone models (GBMs) allows computation of kinematics based on coordinate systems placed relative to full 3-D anatomy, as well as quantification of changes in articular contact locations and relative velocities during dynamic motion. These capabilities are additional to those of cine-PC based techniques that have been used previously to measure joint kinematics during activity. Cine-PC magnitude and velocity data are collected on a fixed image plane prescribed through a repetitively moved skeletal joint. The intersection of each GBM with a simulated image plane is calculated as the model moves along a computed trajectory, and cine-PC velocity data are sampled from the regions of the velocity images within the area of this intersection. From the sampled velocity data, the instantaneous linear and angular velocities of a coordinate system fixed to the GBM are estimated, and integration of the linear and angular velocities is used to predict updated trajectories. A moving validation phantom that produces motions and velocity data similar to those observed in an experiment on human knee kinematics was designed. This phantom was used to assess cine-PC rigid body tracking performance by comparing the kinematics of the phantom measured by this method to similar measurements made using a magnetic tracking system. Average differences between the two methods were measured as 2.82 mm rms for anterior∕posterior tibial position, and 2.63 deg rms for axial rotation. An inter-trial repeatability study of human knee kinematics using the new method produced rms differences in anterior∕posterior tibial position and axial rotation of 1.44 mm and 2.35 deg. The performance of the method is concluded to be sufficient for the effective study of kinematic changes caused to knees by soft tissue injuries.

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