Deep convolutional neural network-based detection of meniscus tears: comparison with radiologists and surgery as standard of reference

Skeletal Radiol. 2020 Aug;49(8):1207-1217. doi: 10.1007/s00256-020-03410-2. Epub 2020 Mar 13.


Objective: To clinically validate a fully automated deep convolutional neural network (DCNN) for detection of surgically proven meniscus tears.

Materials and methods: One hundred consecutive patients were retrospectively included, who underwent knee MRI and knee arthroscopy in our institution. All MRI were evaluated for medial and lateral meniscus tears by two musculoskeletal radiologists independently and by DCNN. Included patients were not part of the training set of the DCNN. Surgical reports served as the standard of reference. Statistics included sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, ROC curve analysis, and kappa statistics.

Results: Fifty-seven percent (57/100) of patients had a tear of the medial and 24% (24/100) of the lateral meniscus, including 12% (12/100) with a tear of both menisci. For medial meniscus tear detection, sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were for reader 1: 93%, 91%, and 92%, for reader 2: 96%, 86%, and 92%, and for the DCNN: 84%, 88%, and 86%. For lateral meniscus tear detection, sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were for reader 1: 71%, 95%, and 89%, for reader 2: 67%, 99%, and 91%, and for the DCNN: 58%, 92%, and 84%. Sensitivity for medial meniscus tears was significantly different between reader 2 and the DCNN (p = 0.039), and no significant differences existed for all other comparisons (all p ≥ 0.092). The AUC-ROC of the DCNN was 0.882, 0.781, and 0.961 for detection of medial, lateral, and overall meniscus tear. Inter-reader agreement was very good for the medial (kappa = 0.876) and good for the lateral meniscus (kappa = 0.741).

Conclusion: DCNN-based meniscus tear detection can be performed in a fully automated manner with a similar specificity but a lower sensitivity in comparison with musculoskeletal radiologists.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Data accuracy; Magnetic resonance imaging; Neural networks (computer); Tibial meniscus injuries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthroscopy
  • Clinical Competence
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Radiologists
  • Reference Standards
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries / surgery*