Magnetic resonance imaging as a tool to predict meniscal reparability

Matthew J. Matava, Kevin Eck, William Totty, Rick W. Wright, Robert A. Shively

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


One hundred six patients who underwent high field strength magnetic resonance imaging and subsequent arthroscopy of the knee were evaluated to determine the accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging in predicting meniscal tear reparability. Each scan was independently read by three examiners with varying degrees of expertise: a musculoskeletal radiologist, a senior orthopaedic surgeon, and a general radiologist. Each suspected tear was characterized by its morphologic type, maximum length, and minimum distance from the meniscosynovial junction. A prediction was then made of whether the tear was reparable. There were 115 meniscal tears noted in the 106 patients studied. The examiners' ability to correctly estimate tear type was only fair, with correct estimates made only 14% to 67% of the time. The overall correlation of the three examiners to correctly predict the method of treatment was fair. The average accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of magnetic resonance imaging in predicting meniscal reparability were 74%, 29%, 89%, 50%, and 80%, respectively; for predicting meniscectomy, these values were 69%, 68%, 75%, 90%, and 43%, respectively. There were no significant differences between the three examiners in the accuracy of their treatment predictions. The results of this study suggest that magnetic resonance imaging is only moderately reliable for the prediction of meniscus reparability. In addition, the training of the reader does not appear to significantly influence the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-443
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


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