Chronologic Change in the Growth Plate After Radiofrequency-Induced Thermal Injury: MRI-Histologic Correlation

Department of Radiology, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
American Journal of Roentgenology (Impact Factor: 2.73). 02/2012; 198(2):W163-72. DOI: 10.2214/AJR.11.6774
Source: PubMed


The purposes of this study were to assess chronologic changes in normal growth plate after radiofrequency-induced thermal injury and to evaluate the feasibility of MRI for revealing alteration of the growth plate.
Radiofrequency ablation was performed on the right proximal tibia of 13 8-week-old New Zealand White rabbits. An 18-gauge cooled-tip electrode with a 5-mm active tip was placed distal to the physis under fluoroscopic guidance. MRI, including T1- and T2-weighted images, gradient-recalled echo images, and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted images, was performed 2, 4, and 12 weeks after ablation. Rabbits were sacrificed 2 (n = 4), 4 (n = 4), and 12 weeks (n = 5) after ablation. The sequential changes in the ablated zone, the injured physis, and the nonablated portion of the physis were correlated between MRI features and histologic results.
Diameter of the nonenhancing lesion on MR images strongly correlated with the size of the region of coagulation necrosis at gross examination. The intraclass correlation coefficients were 0.98 and 0.94 for the long and short axes (p < 0.001). On gradient-recalled echo images, physial conspicuity was less in the injured physis than in the nonablated portion and less in the ablated than the control tibia. Physial conspicuity was graded for comparison with physial thickness at microscopic examination. The thickness of the physis was less in the ablated than in the control tibia 4 and 12 weeks after treatment (p < 0.05, paired Student t test). The cartilage column of the injured physis was delaminated 2 weeks after treatment, and a bone bridge through the injured physis was detected at 4 weeks.
Radiofrequency-induced thermal injury causes early closure of the physis. MRI can depict the extent of radiofrequency-induced thermal injury and alterations in the physis that lead to early closure.

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    • "MRI can be used to evaluate and map physeal closure, which can be caused by lack of physeal activity or bone bridges (Sydner et al. 2001, Friend and Widmann 2008). The physis is well seen on most MRI sequences and has signal characteristics that are similar to those of articular cartilage (Moon et al. 2012). Based on T1-value calculations, we found reduction in the water content of the physis immediately after the procedure . "
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