Lesions of the menisci of the knee: value of MR imaging criteria for recognition of unstable lesions

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2001 Mar;176(3):771-6. doi: 10.2214/ajr.176.3.1760771.


Objective: This study aimed to determine the value of four MR imaging criteria for evaluating unstable meniscal lesions.

Materials and methods: Criteria for unstable meniscal lesions were the presence of a displaced meniscal fragment, visibility on more than three 3-mm-thick coronal and two 4-mm-thick sagittal images, having more than one orientation plane or more than one pattern (contour irregularity, peripheral separation, tear), and having intrameniscal high signal intensity on T2-weighted spin-echo images. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for recognition of instability among all meniscal lesions were determined for the presence of each individual criterion and for the presence of at least one criterion in 50 consecutive patients (mean age, 46 years) who underwent MR imaging and subsequent arthroscopy.

Results: Sensitivities and specificities of these four criteria ranged between 18% and 54% and between 94% and 100%, respectively. Positive and negative predictive values ranged between 92% and 100% and between 39% and 52%, respectively. The presence of at least one criterion enabled recognition of unstable lesions with a sensitivity and specificity of 82% and with positive and negative predictive values of 90% and 70%, respectively.

Conclusion: The four MR imaging criteria have high specificities and positive predictive values and low sensitivities and negative predictive values when evaluating unstable meniscal lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*