, Volume 23, Issue 8, pp 633-636

O'Donoghue's triad: magnetic resonance imaging evidence

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The objective was to search for magnetic resonance imaging evidence of medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury in knees with proven tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial meniscus; the three abnormalities that make up O'Donoghue's triad. Although the MCL injury can be unapparent clinically, knee joint stability may be compromised.


The superficial portion of the MCL was evaluated on 19 MR studies of 16 knees with arthroscopically proven ACL and medial meniscal tears. MCL thicknesses were compared to those on MR images of 19 normal knees.


The injured knees were of 13 men and 3 women, ranging in age from 19 to 56 years; the normal knees were of 10 men and 9 women, ranging in age from 19 to 55 years.

Results and conclusions

The medial collateral ligaments of all injured knees were abnormal, and, as a group, they had greater thicknesses and more intraligamentous thickness variability than normal knees. The MR appearance of both ACL and medial meniscal tears served as indirect evidence of MCL injury, with irregular MCL thickening indicative of prior injury.