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Is a Magic Angle Effect Observed in the Collateral Ligaments of the Distal Interphalangeal Joint or the Oblique Sesamoidean Ligaments During Standing Magnetic Resonance Imaging?

Meredith A. Smith S.J.D., Rachel C. Murray,

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound, 2008. 49(6): p.509-515.

Collagen fibers oriented at 55∞ to the static magnetic field (B0) are characterized by an artifactual increase in signal intensity due to the magic angle effect. We hypothesized that there would be increased signal intensity in the collateral ligaments of the distal interphalangeal joint and oblique sesamoidean ligaments when these ligaments were at angles approaching 55∞ to a horizontal B0 during standing magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. MR imaging was performed on four cadaver forelimbs in a 0.27†T standing system. Transverse and dorsal images were obtained using various sequences, with limbs angled at 0∞, 4∞, 8∞, and 12∞ to the vertical. Images were analyzed and the angle of each ligament to B0 determined. Mean signal intensity in the ligament and cortex of the adjacent phalanx was measured and ratios calculated. With subjective interpretation, there was increased signal intensity in the collateral ligaments of the distal interphalangeal joint and oblique sesamoidean ligaments over ranges of angles of 60201378∞ and 57201369∞, respectively, to B0. In fast spin echo (FSE) sequences, with a long echo time (72†ms), the effect was less pronounced. FSE sequences can help determine the significance of increased signal intensity within tissues. In spite of limited positions of a limb during standing MR imaging compared with horses under general anesthesia, deviation from a vertical posture sufficient to cause a magic angle effect can still occur in both ligaments tested. Conformation may contribute to the occurrence of the magic angle effect during standing MR imaging. Effort should be made to position horses squarely and to minimize leaning during image acquisition.