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Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 1996;115(3-4):199-202.

Age-related magnetic resonance imaging morphology of the menisci in asymptomatic individuals.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Westfalische-Wilhelms-University Munster, Germany.


In 82 asymptomatic subjects aged 8-62 years we evaluated the menisci by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Using a 1.0-tesla imager spin-echo sequences (SE 700/20), partial-saturation sequences (500/10), and short-time inversion-recovery sequences (1600/130/30) were performed. For grading the degeneration of the meniscus, a standard classification (grades 0-4) was used. Positive MRI findings correlated with the patients' age. In SE sequences, a grade 0 meniscus was found in 45.5% of all cases, grade 1 in 33.2%, grade 2 in 16.1%, grade 3 in 4.5%, and grade 4 in 0.7%. In PS sequences, we found grade 0 in 23.9%, grade 1 in 27.5%, grade 2 in 31.5%, grade 3 in 15.9%, and grade 4 in 1.1%. In STIR sequences, we found grade 0 in 56%, grade 1 in 25.4%, grade 2 in 11.1%, grade 3 in 6%, and grade 4 in 1.6%. Correlation of meniscus degeneration with subjects' age showed an increase of grade 3 and 4 lesions with advancing age. Subjects older than 50 years presented with grade 3 and 4 lesions in the SE sequence in 28.5% of the cases, in PS sequences in 40.7%, and in STIR sequences in 25%. In asymptomatic subjects, MRI shows an increasing prevalence of meniscal alterations which correlates with age. Especially in subjects older than 50 years, a significant number of meniscal tears must be expected. This shows the potential danger of the use of MRI alone as a basis for the determination of surgical intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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