Diagnostic performance of clinical examination and selective magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of intraarticular knee disorders in children and adolescents

Am J Sports Med. May-Jun 2001;29(3):292-6. doi: 10.1177/03635465010290030601.

Abstract

To determine the diagnostic performances of clinical examination and selective magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of intraarticular knee disorders in children and adolescents we compared them with arthroscopic findings in a consecutive series of pediatric patients (< or = 16 years old). Stratification effects by patient age and magnetic resonance imaging center were examined. There were 139 lesions diagnosed clinically, 128 diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging, and 135 diagnosed arthroscopically. There was no significant difference between clinical examination and magnetic resonance imaging with respect to agreement with arthroscopic findings (clinical examination, 70.3%; magnetic resonance imaging, 73.7%), overall sensitivity (clinical examination, 71.2%; magnetic resonance imaging, 72.0%), and overall specificity (clinical examination, 91.5%; magnetic resonance imaging, 93.5%). Stratified analysis by diagnosis revealed significant differences only for sensitivity of lateral discoid meniscus (clinical examination, 88.9%; magnetic resonance imaging, 38.9%) and specificity of medial meniscal tears (clinical examination, 80.7%; magnetic resonance imaging, 92.0%). For magnetic resonance imaging, children younger than 12 years old had significantly lower overall sensitivity (61.7% versus 78.2%) and lower specificity (90.2% versus 95.5%) compared with children 12 to 16 years old. There was no significant effect of magnetic resonance imaging center. In conclusion, selective magnetic resonance imaging does not provide enhanced diagnostic utility over clinical examination, particularly in children, and should be used judiciously in cases where the clinical diagnosis is uncertain and magnetic resonance imaging input will alter the treatment plan.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Arthroscopy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / classification
  • Knee Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans / diagnosis
  • Physical Examination*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries