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Three-dimensional imaging and analysis of human cartilage degeneration using optical coherence tomography

: Nebelung, S.; Brill, N.; Marx, U.; Quack, V.; Tingart, M.; Schmitt, R.; Rath, B.; Jahr, H.


Journal of orthopaedic research 33 (2015), No.5, pp.651-659
ISSN: 0736-0266
ISSN: 1554-527X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IPT ()

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is an evolving imaging technology allowing non-destructive imaging of cartilage tissue at near-histological resolution. This study investigated the diagnostic value of real time 3-D OCT in comparison to conventional 2-D OCT in the comprehensive grading of human cartilage degeneration. Fifty-three human osteochondral samples were obtained from eight total knee arthroplasties. OCT imaging was performed by either obtaining a single two-dimensional cross-sectional image (2-D OCT) or by collecting 100 consecutive parallel 2-D OCT images to generate a volumetric data set of 8x8mm (3-D OCT). OCT images were assessed qualitatively according to a modified version of the DJD classification and quantitatively by algorithm-based evaluation of surface irregularity, tissue homogeneity, and signal attenuation. Samples were graded according to the Outerbridge classification and statistically analyzed by one-way ANOVA, Kruskal Wallis and Tukey's or Dunn's post-hoc tests. Overall, the generation of 3-D volumetric datasets and their multiple reconstructions such as rendering, surface topography, parametric, and cross-sectional views proved to be of potential diagnostic value. With increasing distance to the mid-sagittal plane and increasing degeneration, score deviations increased, too. In conclusion, 3-D imaging of cartilage with image analysis algorithms adds considerable potential diagnostic value to conventional OCT diagnostics.