An arthroscopic analysis of lateral meniscal variants and a comparison with MRI findings

  • Yong-Goo Kim
  • Joo-Chul Ihn
  • Seong-Ki Park
  • Hee-Soo KyungEmail author


We reviewed 164 consecutive cases (158 patients) of arthroscopic examinations for lateral meniscal variants during the last 10 years. We classified lateral meniscal variants into four types by arthroscopic appearance, into six tear patterns by modifying O’Connor’s classification, and compared magnetic resonance images (MRI) with arthroscopic findings. Regarding the four types, 131 cases were complete, 25 cases were incomplete, 4 cases were Wrisberg, and 4 cases were ring-shaped meniscus. The six tear patterns were as follows: 33 simple horizontal, 21 combined horizontal, 37 longitudinal, 27 central, 14 complex, and 12 radial tear. Among the 31 knees with a central tear or ring-shaped meniscus, we reviewed 25 MR images. Fifteen (60%) MRI findings were interpreted to represent a bucket-handle (displaced) tear of the normal C-shaped meniscus; 7(28%) MRI findings, a discoid meniscal tear; and the remaining 3(12%) MRI findings, a simple meniscal tear. Moreover, all ring-shaped menisci were interpreted as a displaced lateral meniscal tear on the MRI findings. Twelve patients (13 knees, 7.9%) had osteochondritis dissecans: Nine patients (10 knees) of them had a central tear, two patients (2 knees) of them had a simple horizontal tear of the discoid meniscus, and one patient (1 knee) had a ring-shaped meniscus. Twenty three patients (92.6%) with a central tear of the discoid meniscus did not have any traumatic events. For the differential diagnosis of a central tear or a ring-shaped meniscus from a bucket-handle tear of the normal C-shaped meniscus, we should take a careful history, in particular any traumatic events, we should also consider the possibility of misinterpreting the MR images though these images can provide additional information about associated abnormalities and probe carefully in the arthroscopic operations.


Discoid meniscus Arthroscopic classification 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yong-Goo Kim
    • 1
  • Joo-Chul Ihn
    • 1
  • Seong-Ki Park
    • 1
  • Hee-Soo Kyung
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of MedicineKyungpook National UniversityDaeguKorea

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