Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 40, Issue 8, pp 1017–1023 | Cite as

The relationship between prevalent medial meniscal intrasubstance signal changes and incident medial meniscal tears in women over a 1-year period assessed with 3.0 T MRI

  • Michel D. Crema
  • David J. Hunter
  • Frank W. Roemer
  • Ling Li
  • Monica D. Marra
  • Marcello H. Nogueira-Barbosa
  • Marie-Pierre Hellio Le Graverand
  • Bradley T. Wyman
  • Ali Guermazi
Scientific Article



Intrasubstance meniscal signal changes not reaching the articular surface on fast spin echo (FSE) sequences are considered to represent mucoid degeneration on MRI. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of prevalent intrasubstance signal changes with incident tears of the medial meniscus detected on 3.0 T MRI over a 1-year period.

Materials and methods

A total of 161 women aged ≥40 years participated in a longitudinal 1-year observational study of knee osteoarthritis. MRI (3.0 T) was performed at baseline and 12-month follow-up. The anterior horn, body, and posterior horn of the medial meniscus were scored by two experienced musculoskeletal radiologists using the Boston-Leeds Osteoarthritis Knee Score (BLOKS) system. Four grades were used to describe the meniscal morphology: grade 0 (normal), grade 1 (intrasubstance signal changes not reaching the articular surface), grade 2 (single tears), and grade 3 (complex tears and maceration). Fisher’s exact test and the Cochran-Armitage trend test were performed to evaluate whether baseline intrasubstance signal changes (grade 1) predict incident meniscal tears/maceration (grades 2 and/or 3) in the same subregion of the medial meniscus, when compared to subregions without pathology as the reference group (grade 0).


Medial meniscal intrasubstance signal changes at baseline did not predict tears at follow-up when evaluating the anterior and posterior horns (left-sided p-values 0.06 and 0.59, respectively). No incident tears were detected in the body.


We could not demonstrate an association between prevalent medial meniscal intrasubstance signal changes with incident tears over a 1-year period.


MRI Meniscus Knee Mucoid degeneration Meniscal tears 



We would like to thank the participants and staff of the Pfizer A9001140 Osteoarthritis Study. We are grateful to the dedicated group of study coordinators whose skills were essential in assuring the successful conduct of this study: Manal Al-Suqi, Emily Brown, Janie Burchett, Sandra Chapman, Wandra Davis, Eugene Dunkle, Susan Federmann, Kristen Fredley, Donna Gilmore, Joyce Goggins, Sasha Goldberg, Robert P. Marquis, Thelma Munoz, Bruce Niles, Norine Hall, Scott Squires, and Kim Tally. We would like to thank the staff at Chondrometrics: Gudrun Goldmann, Linda Jakobi, Manuela Kunz, Dr. Susanne Maschek, Sabine Mühlsimer, Annette Thebis, and Dr. Barbara Wehr. We would also like to express our thanks to the dedicated MRI technologists, the Duke Image Analysis Laboratory staff: Cecil Charles, Maureen Ainslie, April Davis, Allison Fowlkes, Mark Ward, and Scott White; and the Pfizer A9001140 Team: Lydia Brunstetter, Peggy Coyle, Yevgenia Davidoff, Charles Packard, Ann Remmers, Mark Tengowski, Jeff Evelhoch (now Merck, Whitehouse Station, N.J.), and John Kotyk (now Washington University, St. Louis, MO). Kenneth Brandt is to be thanked for adjudicating the radiographic readings. We would also like to thank all the A9001140 site investigators: Deb Burstein, Julia Crim, Gary Hutchins, Chris Jackson, Virginia Byers Kraus, Nancy Lane, Thomas M. Link, Sharmila Majumdar, Steve Mazzuca, Prasad Pottumarthi, Thomas Schnitzer, Mihra Taljanovic, and Berchman Vaz.


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Copyright information

© ISS 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michel D. Crema
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • David J. Hunter
    • 4
  • Frank W. Roemer
    • 1
    • 5
  • Ling Li
    • 6
  • Monica D. Marra
    • 1
    • 3
  • Marcello H. Nogueira-Barbosa
    • 2
  • Marie-Pierre Hellio Le Graverand
    • 7
  • Bradley T. Wyman
    • 7
  • Ali Guermazi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Quantitative Imaging CenterBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomechanics, Medicine and Rehabilitation of the Locomotor Apparatus, and Department of Internal Medicine, Radiology DivisionRibeirão Preto School of Medicine, University of São Paulo (USP)Ribeirão PretoBrazil
  3. 3.Institute of Diagnostic Imaging (IDI)Ribeirão PretoBrazil
  4. 4.Sydney School of MedicineThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Department of RadiologyKlinikum AugsburgAugsburgGermany
  6. 6.Division of ResearchNew England Baptist HospitalBostonUSA
  7. 7.Pfizer Global Research and DevelopmentNew LondonUSA

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