Meniscal bucket handle tears: a retrospective study of arthroscopy and the relation to MRI

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2006 Apr;14(4):343-9. doi: 10.1007/s00167-005-0678-x. Epub 2005 Sep 15.


In this study, we aim to evaluate the arthroscopic findings of meniscal bucket handle tears and to correlate them with the proposed MR imaging signs of meniscal bucket handle tears suggested in the literature. Thirty-six patients who had a diagnosis of bucket handle tear in arthroscopy, in either medial or lateral meniscus, were included in our study (32 males and 4 females). Meniscal tears were evaluated in arthroscopy according to Dandy's classification. The MRIs were retrospectively analyzed regarding the following findings: absence of bow tie sign, presence of double posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) sign, double anterior horn sign, flipped meniscus sign, disproportional posterior horn sign, and fragment within the intercondylar region. Locked types I and II fragment of medial meniscus and half-length, whole-width and whole length-half-width fragment of lateral meniscus in arthroscopy were basically correlated with fragment within the intercondylar notch and absent bow tie signs in MRI. We did not find the double PCL sign in any of the patients with a lateral meniscal bucket handle tear. The most common signs in MR images of meniscal bucket handle tears were the fragment in the notch sign and the absent bow tie sign. They were observed with equal frequency of 88.8%. The presence of double PCL sign, double anterior horn sign, flipped meniscus sign, disproportional posterior horn sign were less common (41.66, 33, 25, and 27.7%, respectively). We conclude that the presence of at least two of the six MRI signs should be regarded as highly suggestive for bucket handle tears of menisci.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Arthroscopy*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament / pathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rupture
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Synovial Fluid
  • Tibia / pathology
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*