Objective: To study MR findings of meniscal tears with discoid lateral menisci (DLMs) and to evaluate the incidence and accuracy of MRI compared to arthroscopical surgery.
Material and methods: MR appearances of surgically proved torn discoid lateral menisci (DLM) were studied in 57 knees (40 patients). They were all performed with a 1.5T MR before surgery. MR sequences included T1- and T2* weighted images on both coronal and sagittal planes and 3D-axial images with a slice thickness of 0.7 mm.
Result: Of 57 DLMs, there were 32 complete DLMs and 25 incomplete DLMs. Twenty-five of 32 complete DLMs had tears; including seven with intrasubstance tear, five with radial tear, five with other kinds of tears and eight with severe tears involving whole meniscus. On the other hand, 13 of 25 incomplete DLMs had tears; including two with intrasubstance tear, six with radial tear, four with other kinds of tears and one with severe tears. All DLMs were correctly diagnosed on MR images. Twenty-seven of 38 tears with DLM were correctly identified on conventional 2D MR images. This yielded 71.1% sensitivity, 100% specificity and 80.7% overall accuracy. When adding axial 3D MR images to 2D MR images, 36 of 38 tears were correctly diagnosed. A combination of both techniques yielded a sensitivity of 94.7% and a specificity of 100%. Ten of 11 radial tears with DLM were correctly identified on 3D axial images, where only three of them could be diagnosed on conventional 2D images. Eight of nine intrasubstance tears were correctly identified on 3D axial images, where six of them could be diagnosed on conventional 2D images.
Conclusion: DLMs had a much higher incidence of meniscal tears than normally shaped lateral menisci and MR is the only modality of choice to evaluate them before surgery. Especially 3D axial MR images were quite useful in the detection of intrasubstance and radial tears often associated with DLMs.