How to Read an MRI of a Medial Meniscus Tear

Home/How to Read an MRI of a Medial Meniscus Tear

Colorado knee surgeon, Dr. Robert LaPrade details the specifics on how to read an MRI of a medial meniscus tear. There are different types of meniscus tears and a horizontal cleavage tear occurs within the fibers of the meniscus and splits the meniscus in the top and bottom pieces.

To begin, we start with a sagittal view on the lateral side. As we start to go more towards the midline we start to see the lateral meniscus. There is a dark appearance to it, so there is no evidence of disruption. As we scan further we see the ACL and PCL, which both look normal.

Moving more towards the medial side of the knee there is evidence of signal changes in the medial meniscus. In this case, we see a complete white pass of fluid in the meniscus, which indicates that there is a horizontal cleavage tear.

The next view is a coronal scan. As we course more posteriorly we can see the meniscus is in relatively good position, but we are starting to see increase signal in the body of the meniscus, which is indicative of a tear. All the way to the posterior medial aspect we can see signal intensity, which is consistent with the horizontal cleavage tear.

The last view we look at is an axial image. In some cases it is challenging to see the tear within the meniscus from this view, but it is important to assess.

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