The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relation between meniscal extrusion on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and tearing of the posterior root of the medial meniscus, as well as to understand the relation between meniscal extrusion and chondral lesions.
From January 2007 to December 2008, 387 consecutive cases of medial meniscal tears were treated arthroscopically. Of these cases, 248 (64.1%) with MRI were reviewed. Arthroscopic findings were reviewed for the type of tear and medial compartment cartilage lesion. Root tear was defined as a radial tear in the posterior horn of the medial meniscus near the tibial spine (i.e., within 5 mm of the root attachment). An MRI scan of the knee was used to evaluate the presence and extent of meniscal extrusion. Meniscal extrusion of 3 mm or greater was considered pathologic. Arthroscopic findings were compared with respect to the extent of meniscal extrusion.
There were 98 male patients and 150 female patients. The mean age was 53.5 years (range, 15 to 81 years). The results showed 127 cases (51.2%) in which the medial meniscus had meniscal extrusion of 3 mm or greater. Posterior root tears were found in 66 (26.6%) of the 248 knees. The mean meniscal extrusion in patients with root tear was 3.8 ± 1.4 mm, whereas the mean extrusion of those who had no root tear was 2.7 ± 1.3 mm. We found an association between pathologic meniscal extrusion and root tear (P < .001). Meniscal extrusion showed a low positive predictive value (39%) and specificity (58%) with regard to the meniscal root tear. Meniscal extrusion was also significantly correlated with severity of chondral lesions (P < .001).
Considerable extrusion (≥3 mm) can be associated with tearing of the medial meniscus root and chondral lesion of the medial femoral condyle.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Level IV, therapeutic case series.
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