Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has a significative impact on diagnosis of musculoskeletal diseases. At present, joint diseases are evaluated with total-body systems, this fact representing an obstacle to MR diffusion in the osteoarticular field. The last technological advances have allowed the development of a cost-effective, compact and easy-to-install MR system. The system is constituted by a 0.2-T permanent unit, weighing 800 kg. The unit is used only for limb examination. To verify the diagnostic accuracy of the new system a study based on 1902 lower limb examinations was carried out between October 1992 and February 1994. Of these patients, 301 underwent surgery during which the MR findings were verified. Quite satisfying overall results were obtained, particularly in case of knee trauma, comparable to those provided by total body units with higher magnetic field. It must be noted, however, that in 3% of the investigated knee diseases, the examinations could not be performed due to technical limitations related to the magnet size. The authors believe that the limited field of view (11 cm) does not allows accurate staging of the malignant lesions concerning soft tissue and bone, which require a wider loco-regional staging. They also believe that the particular structure of the magnet allows for a comfortable management of pediatric, elderly, and acute patients.
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