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. 2016 Aug;23(4):686-91.
doi: 10.1016/j.knee.2015.11.004. Epub 2016 May 12.

Relationship Between Meniscal Integrity and Risk Factors for Cartilage Degeneration

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Relationship Between Meniscal Integrity and Risk Factors for Cartilage Degeneration

Sally Arno et al. Knee. .

Abstract

Background: The purpose of this study was to use MRI to determine if a loss of meniscal intra-substance integrity, as determined by T2* relaxation time, is associated with an increase of Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) grade, and if this was correlated with risk factors for cartilage degeneration, namely meniscal extrusion, contact area and anterior-posterior (AP) displacement.

Methods: Eleven symptomatic knees with a KL 2 to 4 and 11 control knees with a KL 0 to 1 were studied. A 3 Tesla MRI scanner was used to scan all knees at 15° of flexion. With a 222N compression applied, a 3D SPACE sequence was obtained, followed by a spin echo 3D T2* mapping sequence. Next, an internal tibial torque of 5Nm was added and a second 3D SPACE sequence obtained. The MRI scans were post-processed to evaluate meniscal extrusion, contact area, AP displacement and T2* relaxation time.

Results: KL grade was correlated with T2* relaxation time for both the anterior medial meniscus (r=0.79, p<0.001) and the posterior lateral meniscus (r=0.55, p=0.009). In addition, T2* relaxation time was found to be correlated with risk factors for cartilage degeneration. The largest increases in meniscal extrusion and decreases in contact area were noted for those with meniscal tears (KL 3 to 4). All patients with KL 3 to 4 indicated evidence of meniscal tears.

Conclusions: This suggests that a loss of meniscal integrity, in the form of intra-substance degeneration, is correlated with risk factors for cartilage degeneration.

Keywords: Anterior–posterior displacement; Meniscal extrusion; Meniscal integrity; Osteoarthritis; Tibio-femoral contact area.

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