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ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of meniscal cysts, assess the frequency of various magnetic resonance (MR) imaging characteristics, and emphasize radiographic observations not commonly reported.
A total of 2,095 consecutive knee MR imaging reports from a 22 month period were retrospectively reviewed for the presence of meniscal cysts. Two musculoskeletal radiologists reviewed the cases where cysts were reported. A meniscal cyst was considered present if abnormally increased signal was identified within an enlarged meniscus (i.e., intrameniscal cyst) or if a loculated fluid-intensity lesion with a clear connection to the adjacent meniscus was identified (i.e., parameniscal cyst). Presence or absence of a meniscal tear, intrameniscal and parameniscal signal intensity, patient age, sex, location of meniscal cyst, presence of discoid meniscus, and size of the parameniscal cyst component were recorded. All knee imaging examinations were performed on a 1.5T MR unit. Imaging findings were correlated with arthroscopic reports when available.
A total of 167 cases (8.0%) of meniscal cysts were diagnosed in 161 patients. Of the 167 cysts, 69 (41.3%) were located in the lateral meniscus and 98 (58.7%) in the medial meniscus. In 6 patients (3.7%), meniscal cysts were present in both menisci of the same knee. Twelve (7.2%) meniscal cysts were associated with discoid menisci. Ninety-seven (57.8%) meniscal cysts were associated with meniscal tears. Of the total number of meniscal cysts, 104 (62.3%) had a parameniscal cyst. An isolated intrameniscal cyst was present in 63 (37.7%) cases. One hundred (96%) of the parameniscal cyst components were isointense to fluid on T2-weighted FSE images. All cysts exhibited abnormal intrameniscal signal. Only 14 (8.4%) of the intrameniscal components were isointense to fluid on T2-weighted FSE images. The arthroscopic reports of 88 of the 161 (54.7%) patients were available for review and correlation. A tear extending to the articular surface of the meniscus was reported to be present in 74 of the 88 (84%) arthroscopic examinations.
Knowledge of the spectrum of findings and the relative frequency of various MR imaging characteristics as well as common potential pitfalls is important to the accurate diagnosis and management of mensical cysts. In particular, controversy exists as to the incidence of articular surface tears in association with meniscal cysts, with some authors reporting greater than 98% correlation with tears. Only 58% of cysts were associated with an articular surface tear. Ninety six percent of the parameniscal signal was isointense to fluid, only 8% of the intramensical signal was isointense to fluid.
Skeletal Radiology 12/2010; 39(12):1187-91. · 1.74 Impact Factor