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3D-MRI combined with signal-to-noise ratio measurement can improve the diagnostic accuracy and sensitivity in evaluating meniscal healing status after meniscal repair

  • Knee
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Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy Aims and scope



This study compared the diagnostic accuracy of second-look arthroscopy, clinical assessment, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in evaluating meniscal healing following repair. To explore the application of 3D-MRI sequences with signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) measurements and the analysis of sensitivity and accuracy in evaluating meniscal healing status after meniscal repair.


This study included 75 patients (75 menisci; mean age, 25.4 ± 6.6 years) who underwent arthroscopic meniscal repair (medial menisci, 45; and lateral menisci, 29). Follow-up evaluation included clinical assessment, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and second-look arthroscopy (mean follow-up, 10.2 ± 3.4 months). The criteria defined for unhealed menisci were: on arthroscopy, presence of cleft; on clinical assessment, presence of joint-line tenderness, swelling, locking, or positive McMurray test; on MRI, grade III signal intensity at the site of repair. Finally, the SNR on 3D-MRI of the healed and the unhealed groups were compared.


On second-look arthroscopy, 68 (90.7%) menisci were found to be completely healed. With the arthroscopic healing rate as the standard, the clinical healing rate was 69.3% (63 menisci) [sensitivity, 85.7%; specificity, 75.0%; accuracy, 76.0%; positive predictive value (PPV), 26.1%; negative predictive value (NPV), 98.1%]. Similarly, the sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, PPV and NPV, respectively, for MRI in four sequences were as follows: 2D-T2W-Sag: 71.4, 79.4, 78.7, 26.3, and 96.4%; 2D-T2W-Cor: 71.4, 82.4, 81.3, 29.4, and 96.6%; 3D-PDW-Sag: 100.0, 50.0, 54.7, 17.1, and 100.0%; 3D-PDW-Cor: 100.0, 58.8, 62.7, 20.0, and 100.0%. The mean SNRs of the healed group (3D-PDW-Sag, 66.7 ± 11.9; 3D-PDW-Cor, 63.9 ± 12.4) were significantly lesser than that of the unhealed group (3D-PDW-Sag, 89.2 ± 9.6; 3D-PDW-Cor, 82.2 ± 18.5) (P < 0.05). Identifying grade 3 meniscal damage on 3D-PDW images prior to applying the different SNR cut-off points revealed SNR values 80 in the sagittal plane and 70 in the coronal plane as having better diagnostic accuracy and sensitivity. The clinical relevance of the study was that 3D-MRI combined with SNR measurement may be a noninvasive and accurate method of assessment clinically, and a reliable alternative to second-look arthroscopy.

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Correspondence to Weiping Li.

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This study was approved by the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University.

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Song, B., Tan, W., Xu, Y. et al. 3D-MRI combined with signal-to-noise ratio measurement can improve the diagnostic accuracy and sensitivity in evaluating meniscal healing status after meniscal repair. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 27, 177–188 (2019).

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