Posterior Root Meniscal Tears: Preoperative, Intraoperative, and Postoperative Imaging for Transtibial Pullout Repair

Radiographics. 2016 Oct;36(6):1792-1806. doi: 10.1148/rg.2016160026.


The menisci play an important biomechanical role in axial load distribution of the knees by means of hoop strength, which is contingent on intact circumferentially oriented collagen fibers and meniscal root attachments. Disruption of the meniscal root attachments leads to altered biomechanics, resulting in progressive cartilage loss, osteoarthritis, and subchondral edema, with the potential for development of a subchondral insufficiency fracture. Identification of meniscal root tears at magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is crucial because new arthroscopic surgical techniques (transtibial pullout repair) have been developed to repair meniscal root tears and preserve the tibiofemoral cartilage of the knee. An MR imaging classification of posterior medial meniscal root ligament lesions has been recently described that is dedicated to the posterior root of the medial meniscus. An arthroscopic classification of meniscal root tears has been described that can be applied to the anterior and posterior roots of both the medial meniscus and the lateral meniscus. This arthroscopic classification includes type 1, partial stable root tears; type 2, complete radial root tears; type 3, vertical longitudinal bucket-handle tears; type 4, complex oblique tears; and type 5, bone avulsion fractures of the root attachments. Knowledge of these classifications and the potential contraindications to meniscal root repair can aid the radiologist in the preoperative reporting of meniscal root tear types and the evaluation of the tibiofemoral cartilage. As more patients undergo arthroscopic repair of meniscal root tears, familiarity with the surgical technique and the postoperative radiographic and MR imaging appearance is important to adequately report the imaging findings. ©RSNA, 2016.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy / methods
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Knee Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Patient Positioning / methods
  • Perioperative Care / methods*
  • Rupture / diagnostic imaging
  • Rupture / surgery
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries / surgery*