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Skeletal Radiol. 2015 Jan;44(1):125-35. doi: 10.1007/s00256-014-2022-3. Epub 2014 Oct 10.

Magnetic resonance analysis of loaded meniscus deformation: a novel technique comparing participants with and without radiographic knee osteoarthritis.

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Department of Physical Therapy, California State University, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA, 95819-6020, USA,



To establish a novel method of quantifying meniscal deformation using loaded MRI. More specifically, the goals were to evaluate the (1) accuracy, (2) inter-rater reliability, (3) intra-rater reliability, and (4) scan-rescan reliability. The secondary purpose of this experiment was to evaluate group differences in meniscal deformation in participants with and without radiographic knee OA.


Weight-bearing 3-T MRIs of the knee in full extension and 30° of flexion were processed to create 3D models of meniscal deformation. Accuracy was assessed using a custom-designed phantom. Twenty-one participants either with or without signs of OA were evaluated, and another six participants (14 knees, one subject was scanned twice) underwent repeated imaging to assess scan-rescan reproducibility. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), root-mean squared error (RMSE), and root-mean-square percent coefficient-of-variation (RMS%CV) analyses were performed. Exploratory comparisons were made between those with and without OA to evaluate potential group differences.


All variables were found to be accurate with RMSE ranging from 0.08 to 0.35 mm and 5.99 to 14.63 mm(2). Reproducibility of peak anterior-posterior meniscal deformation was excellent (ICC > 0.821; p < 0.013) with RMS%CV for intra-rater ranging from 0.06 to 1.53 % and 0.17 to 1.97 %, inter-rater ranging from 0.10 to 7.20 % and 3.95 to 18.53 %, and scan-rescan reliability ranging from 1.531 to 7.890 % and 4.894 to 9.142 %, for distance and area metric, respectively. Participants with OA were found to have significantly greater anterior horn movement of both the medial (p = 0.039) and lateral meniscus (p = 0.015), and smaller flexed medial meniscus outer area (p = 0.048) when compared to controls.


MRI-based variables of meniscus deformation were found to be valid in participants with and without OA. Significant differences were found between those with and without radiographic OA; further study is warranted.

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