A new magnetic resonance imaging protocol makes it possible for physicians to evaluate the wrist during continuous motion, according to a study published in PLOS ONE.
Conventional MRI exams can take more than 30 minutes total and require at least three minutes per image set, meaning the technology isn’t fast enough to evaluate what’s happening to someone who experiences pain only when moving his or her wrist. However, the new active-MRI technique can take one image every half second, delivering a series of images that makes it possible to see the architecture of the wrist while the joint is moving.
Using active-MRI, researchers evaluated images of 15 wrists from 10 asymptomatic volunteers by asking them to perform a variety of motions, such as rotating their wrists or clenching their fists. The technique allowed researchers to evaluate distal radioulnar subluxation ratios, scaphalunate intervals and abnormalities in extensor carpi ulnaris tendon translation.
The study demonstrates that active-MRI may be useful for investigating dynamic wrist instability. The authors plan to validate their findings by conducting the same study in patients showing signs of wrist instability. In addition, they will use the technique to study sex distinctions in conditions like osteoarthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.