The diagnostic potential of low-field MRI in problematic total knee arthroplasties - a feasibility study

Femke F. Schröder*, Corine E. Post, Sjoerd M. van Raak, Frank F.J. Simonis, Frank Christiaan B.M. Wagenaar, Rianne M.H.A. Huis in’t Veld, Nico Verdonschot

*Corresponding author for this work

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Purpose: Low-field MRI, allowing imaging in supine and weight-bearing position, may be utilized as a non-invasive and affordable tool to differentiate between causes of dissatisfaction after TKA (‘problematic TKA’). However, it remains unclear whether low-field MRI results in sufficient image quality with limited metal artefacts. Therefore, this feasibility study explored the diagnostic value of low-field MRI concerning pathologies associated with problematic TKA’s’ by comparing low-field MRI findings with CT and surgical findings. Secondly, differences in patellofemoral parameters between supine and weight-bearing low-field MRI were evaluated.

Methods: Eight patients with a problematic TKA were scanned using low-field MRI in weight-bearing and supine conditions. Six of these patients underwent revision surgery. Scans were analysed by a radiologist for pathologies associated with a problematic TKA. Additional patellofemoral and alignment parameters were measured by an imaging expert. MRI observations were compared to those obtained with CT, the diagnosis based on the clinical work-up, and findings during revision surgery.

Results: MRI observations of rotational malalignment, component loosening and patellofemoral arthrosis were comparable with the clinical diagnosis (six out of eight) and were confirmed during surgery (four out of six). All MRI observations were in line with CT findings (seven out of seven). Clinical diagnosis and surgical findings of collateral excessive laxity could not be confirmed with MRI (two out of eight).

Conclusion: Low-field MRI shows comparable diagnostic value as CT and might be a future low cost and ionizing radiation free alternative. Differences between supine and weight-bearing MRI did not yield clinically relevant information. The study was approved by the Medical Research Ethics Committees of Twente (Netherlands Trial Register: Trial NL7009 (NTR7207). Registered 5 March 2018,

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
JournalJournal of Experimental Orthopaedics
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Low field MRI
  • Problematic TKA
  • Total knee arthroplasty
  • Weight-bearing MRI


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