Objective: The sensitivity and specificity of 3.0-T MRI of the knee for meniscal tears have not been specifically assessed. We undertook a retrospective review of 100 consecutive MR examinations of the knee followed by arthroscopy to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of 3.0-T MRI compared with arthroscopy in the detection of meniscal tears.
Materials and methods: Two experienced musculoskeletal radiologists retrospectively reviewed MR scans of the knees of 100 patients who underwent consecutive knee arthroscopic procedures after MRI examinations. Interpretations were performed by consensus review with the reviewers blinded to arthroscopic results at the time of consensus review. All patients underwent complete MRI of the knee on a 3.0-T unit. All patients underwent fast spin-echo proton density sagittal imaging at 2-mm slice thickness. Fat-saturated fast spin-echo T2 axial, coronal, and sagittal imaging and T1 coronal imaging also were performed. All 100 patients underwent arthroscopy, and the results were compared with MR interpretations.
Results: Consensus retrospective review of the 100 knee MR examinations revealed 111 meniscal tears. Four meniscal tears seen on arthroscopy were not seen on MR examination. There were three false-positive MR interpretations of meniscal tear compared with arthroscopy. In this study, the sensitivity of MRI in the detection of meniscal tears was 96%, and the specificity was 97%.
Conclusion: MRI of the knee at 3.0 T is sensitive and specific compared with arthroscopy in the detection of meniscal tears. Findings at 3.0 T compare favorably with results at 1.5-T or lower field strength.