The objectives of this study were to validate a semiquantitative scoring system for estimating perimeniscal synovitis in osteoarthritic (OA) knees and to examine the relationship between the extent of synovitis and the degree of meniscal pathology using gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Forty-three subjects with clinically diagnosed OA knee were assessed for peri-meniscal synovitis using gadolinium-enhanced MRI. Quantitative measurements of synovitis were made by summing areas in consecutive slices within generated regions of interest, and the synovitis was also scored semi-quantitatively using a 0-3 scale. Meniscal pathology (extrusion, degeneration and tearing) was also scored semiquantitatively. Establishment of a correlative relationship was undertaken using Spearman's rho (rho). A total of 86 sites were assessed. The semi-quantitative synovitis score correlated well with the quantitative synovitis score (rho>0.9). A moderate association between medial meniscal extrusion and synovitis was demonstrated (rho=0.762, P<0.000), although this association was not as strong in the lateral compartment (rho=0.524, P<0..000). The results suggest the semiquantitative scoring system is valid for assessing perimeniscal synovitis. The relationship between meniscal pathology and adjacent synovitis requires further study.