The notch of harty (pseudodefect of the tibial plafond): Frequency and characteristic findings at MRI of the ankle

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OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study is to report the frequency and characteristic findings of the notch of Harty as seen on MRI. MATERIALS AND METHODS. One hundred six consecutive ankle MRI studies performed at 1.5 or 3 T were reviewed retrospectively by two radiologists. Findings relating to the notch of Harty and ankle joint were recorded and analyzed, including qualitative assessment of the presence of the notch, focal chondral thinning or focal subcortical osteosclerosis at the notch, notch width and depth, osteochondral lesions elsewhere in the ankle, subchondral edema signal or cystic change at the tibial plafond, and the presence of an ankle joint effusion. RESULTS. The study group of 106 patients consisted of 48 Male and 58 feMale patients, with a mean age of 44.5 years (SD, 17.5 years). The notch was identified in 48 of 106 patients (45%) (24 Male and 24 feMale patients; mean age, 43.1 years; range, 7-79 years). When present, the notch averaged 6.2 mm (SD, 1.6 mm) in width and 1.2 mm (SD, 0.5 mm) in depth. The notch was graded as prominent in six of the 106 ankle MRI examinations (6%). Subchondral edemalike signal or cystic change was not localized to the notch in any case. Between patients with versus those without a notch, there was no statistically significant difference in age, sex, subjacent subcortical osteosclerosis, ankle joint effusion, osteochondral lesions elsewhere in the ankle, or subchondral bone marrow edema at the tibial plafond. CONCLUSION. The notch of Harty can be observed as an anatomic variant on MRI and should be differentiated from a traumatic osteochondral lesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-363
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Ankle
  • MRI
  • Normal variation
  • Osteochondral lesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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