The aim of this study was to compare bone imaging between ultrashort echo-time (UTE) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) as the reference standard in patients with medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ).
Materials and Methods
A 1-year retrospective, blinded, and randomized qualitative analysis of UTE MR images and CBCT from 19 patients with clinically diagnosed MRONJ was performed by 2 independent radiologists. Medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw imaging hallmarks such as osteolysis, periosteal thickening, and medullary osteosclerosis were rated visually (0 and 1 to 3 for normal and mild to severe changes) for defined anatomic regions of the jaw. In addition, segmentation of these regions was performed on coregistered MR/CBCT images for the following quantitative comparison of signal intensity (SI) on MR and gray values (GVs) on CBCT images. Interreader/modality agreement (Cohen kappa), standard testing for significant differences of (non)parametric values, and Pearson correlation of signal intensity/GV were used for statistical analysis.
The anterior corpus of the mandible was most often affected by MRONJ (P < 0.001). Overall, interreader agreement of qualitative MRONJ hallmark scores was almost perfect (κ = 0.81) and without significant differences between modalities (κ = 0.81 vs 0.82, CBCT vs MR, respectively). Intermodality agreement for qualitative gradings was substantial for both readers (κ = 0.77 and 0.70). Signal intensity/GV in MRONJ-affected areas differed significantly from healthy bone (P < 0.001) as well as correlation significantly between modalities (r = −0.77; P < 0.001).
Qualitative assessment of MRONJ with radiation-free UTE MR imaging is comparable to reference standard CBCT. Quantitative measurements of both modalities significantly distinguish diseased from normal bone with strong correlations among the quantitative values in both modalities.