Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine | 2021
Reliability of Plain Radiographs Versus Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Measure Tibial Slope in Sports Medicine Patients: Can They Be Used Interchangeably?
Background: The slope of the tibial plateau has been proposed as a reason for failure of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Purpose: To evaluate the interobserver reliability of measurements of tibial slope on radiographs versus magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and to assess whether the modalities can be used interchangeably for this purpose. Study Design: Cohort study (diagnosis); Level of evidence, 3. Methods: This retrospective study included 81 patients aged 18 to 30 years who were evaluated in a sports medicine setting for knee pain and who had lateral knee radiographs as well as knee MRI scans on file. Medial and lateral tibial plateau slope measurements were made by 3 blinded reviewers from the radiographs and MRI scans using graphic overlay software. The paired t test was used to compare measurements of the medial tibial plateau slope (MTPS) and lateral tibial plateau slope (LTPS) from radiographs and MRI scans. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated to determine intra- and interobserver reliability of measurements within each imaging modality, and Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to determine the relationship between measurements on radiographs versus MRI scans. Results: Imaging from 81 patients were included. The average MTPS was significantly larger on radiographs compared with MRI scans (8.7° ± 3.6° vs 3.7° ± 3.4°; P < .001), and the average LTPS was also significantly larger on radiographs compared with MRI scans (7.9° ± 3.4° vs 5.7° ± 3.7°; P < .001). ICC values indicated good to excellent intraobserver agreement for all imaging modalities (ICC, 0.81-0.97; P ≤ .009). The ICCs for interobserver reliability of MTPS and LTPS measurements were 0.92 and 0.85 for radiographs, 0.87 and 0.83 for MRI based off the subchondral bone, and 0.86 and 0.71 for MRI based off the cartilage, respectively (P < .001). Medium correlation was noted between radiographic and MRI measurements; Pearson correlation coefficients for radiographic versus subchondral MRI measurements were 0.30 and 0.37 for MTPS and LTPS, respectively. Conclusion: The average MTPS and LTPS were significantly larger on radiographs compared with MRI scans. Although tibial slope measurements using radiography and those using MRI are reliable between individuals, the measurements from radiographs and MRI scans cannot be used interchangeably, and caution should be used when interpreting and comparing studies using measurements of the tibial slope.