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Magic Angle Effect in Normal Collateral Ligaments of the Distal Interphalangeal Joint in Horses Imaged with a High-Field Magnetic Resonance Imaging System

Werpy N.M., Ho C.P. and Kawcak C.E.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound, 2010. 51(1): p.2-10.

Distal forelimb specimens of eight skeletally mature horses were imaged using proton density turbo spin echo, T1-weighted spoiled gradient echo, T2*-weighted gradient echo, short tau inversion recovery and T2-weighted fast spin echo sequences with the limb parallel to the main magnetic field, and with angulation of the limb relative to the main magnetic field. The magic angle effect can be identified in the collateral ligaments of the distal interphalangeal joint when imaged in a high-field magnetic resonance (MR) imaging system with a horizontally oriented main magnetic field. This effect has previously been described in the collateral ligaments of the distal interphalangeal joint in a low-field system with a vertically oriented main magnetic field. The curvature of the ligaments places the fibers at the magic angle in both horizontally and vertically orientated main magnetic fields. This effect can be identified on short time of echo sequences and impacts the signal pattern of the ligaments at the level of the middle phalanx with the limb in a neutral position and with angulation of the limb. Magic angle effect should be considered as a possible cause of an asymmetrical signal pattern, depending on the positioning of the limb and the sequences used for imaging, when evaluating the collateral ligaments of the distal interphalangeal joint on images acquired with a high-field MR imaging system that has a horizontally oriented main magnetic field.