Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a recently developed diagnostic medical imaging technology that shows great promise in the evaluation of knee meniscal diseases. Fifty-seven patient knees were evaluated by a single experienced MRI interpreter; the findings were compared with arthroscopic findings by a single experienced knee arthroscopist. The overall sensitivity and specificity rates of MRI for tears in virgin menisci compared to arthroscopy were both 92%. These results support reports in the literature that MRI is an accurate noninvasive technique for evaluating meniscal tears. Seven patients were treated with arthroscopic meniscal repair and were evaluated by MRI before and after surgery. Despite an asymptomatic postoperative status in six patients, abnormal intrameniscal signal persisted in four. An unstable meniscal fragment was visualized in the patient with postoperative pain. MRI is also useful in evaluating meniscal degeneration, meniscal ossicles, parameniscal cysts, and abnormal meniscal morphology. MRI is the noninvasive diagnostic technique of choice in evaluating a spectrum of knee meniscal diseases.
* From the Department of Radiology. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Santa Barbara, California.
** From Orthopedic Specialists of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California.
† From the Department of Radiologic Services, Second Strategic Hospital, Barksdale Air Force Base. Louisiana.
Reprint requests to John V. Crues III, M.D., Department of Radiology. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Pueblo and Bath Streets, Santa Barbara, CA 93105.
Supported by a grant from the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Research Project.
Received: June 5, 1989.