Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 433–435 | Cite as

Popliteal cysts: a reassessment using magnetic resonance imaging

  • Julia R. Fielding
  • Peter D. Franklin
  • John Kustan


The advent of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) prompted the reevaluation of the incidence of popliteal cyst and its associated injuries. We reviewed more than 1000 consecutive MRI examinations of the knee performed on patients referred for evaluation of internal derangement. We report a 5% incidence of popliteal cyst, which is lower than has previously been determined. We believe that the reported higher incidence was due to arthrographic distention of normal, collapsed bursae. The strong association between popliteal cyst and tear of the medial meniscus is confirmed. We report for the first time to our knowledge the 13% association between popliteal cyst and complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament.

Key words

Popliteal cyst Magnetic resonance imaging 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bierbaum BE (1968) Double contrast knee arthrography. A safe and reliable aid to diagnosis of “internal derangement.” J Trauma 8:165Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Butt WP, Mcintyre JL (1969) Double contrast arthrography of the knee. Radiology 92:487Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hartzman S, Reicher MA, Bassett LW, Duckwiler GR, Mandelbaum B, Gold RH (1987) MR imaging of the knee. Part II. Chronic disorders. Radiology 162:553Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Herman G, Yeh HC, Lehr-Janus C, Berson BL (1981) Diagnosis of popliteal cyst: double contrast arthrography and sonography. AJR 137:369Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lee KR, Tines SC, Price HI, De Smet AA, Neff JR (1983) The computed tomographic findings of popliteal cysts. Skeletal Radiol 10:26Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lindgren PG, Willen R (1977) Gastrocnemio-semimembranosus bursa and its relation to the knee joint. Acta Radiol [Diagn] 18:497Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nicholas JA, Freidberger RH, Killoran PJ, Paul J (1970) Double-contrast arthrography of the knee. Its value in the management of two hundred and twenty-five knee derangements. J Bone Joint Surg [Am] 52:203Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Reicher MA (1987) Spectrum of knee joint disorders. In: Mink JH, Reicher MA, Crues JV III (eds) Magnetic resonance imaging of the knee. Raven Press, New York, p 123Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Reicher MA, Hartzman S, Bassett LW, Mandelbaum B, Duckwiler GR, Gold RH (1987) MR imaging of the knee. Part I. Traumatic disorders. Radiology 162:547Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Richardson ML, Selby B, Montana M, Mack L (1988) Ultrasonography of the knee. Radiol Clin North Am 26:63Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Schwimmer M, Edelstein G, Heiken JP, Gilula LA (1985) Synovial cysts of the knee: CT evaluation. Radiology 154:175PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sundaram M, McGuire MH, Fletcher J, Wolverson M, Heiberg E, Shields JB (1986) Magnetic resonance imaging of lesions of synovial origin. Skeletal Radiol 15:110Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Taylor AR (1969) Arthrography of the knee in rheumatoid arthritis. Br J Radiol 42:492Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wolfe RD, Colloff B (1972) Popliteal cysts. An arthrographic study and review of the literature. J Bone Joint Surg [Am] 54:1057Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Skeletal Society 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia R. Fielding
    • 1
  • Peter D. Franklin
    • 1
  • John Kustan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyBoston University Medical CenterBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations