Medial meniscal displacement and strain in three dimensions under compressive loads: MR assessment

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2014 Nov;40(5):1181-8. doi: 10.1002/jmri.24461. Epub 2013 Dec 9.


Purpose: To investigate the 3D displacement and the local strain of the medial meniscus and its attachments under compressive loading.

Materials and methods: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of six porcine knee joints were performed under unloaded and loaded conditions (100% and 200% body weight [BW]). Volumes were registered to obtain a 3D displacement field of the medial meniscus and its attachments, which were divided into five anatomic compartments. Finally, displacements of the center of mass of each compartment and the local strain were analyzed.

Results: The meniscus and its attachments significantly displaced by up to 2.6 ± 1.2 mm (P < 0.01) under knee joint loads of 200% BW. An increase of 0.9 mm in the distance between posterior and anterior horn (P < 0.001) was observed. The meniscus and its attachment showed an average radial stretch of 0.6%, an average circumferential stretch of 0.9%, and an average axial compression of 11.6% at 200% BW.

Conclusion: High-resolution MRI was successfully combined with image registration to investigate the displacement and strain of the meniscus and its attachments under compression. The results of this study contribute to the basic understanding of meniscal movement which may impact the design of meniscal implants and the validation of finite element models in the future.

Keywords: 3D displacement; MRI; image registration; local strain; meniscus.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Compressive Strength / physiology*
  • Elasticity
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Menisci, Tibial / physiology*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Swine
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*