Association of peripheral vertical meniscal tears with anterior cruciate ligament tears.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is to describe a type of meniscal tear seen on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, the peripheral vertical tear, and to determine the prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in knees with this type of meniscal tear compared to knees with other types of meniscal tears. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Following Institutional Review Board approval, a retrospective review of 200 knee MR examinations with imaging diagnoses of 'meniscal tear' was performed to assess the location and morphology of the meniscal tear, and to assess the status of the ACL. RESULTS: Nineteen peripheral vertical meniscal tears were identified in 17 patients, 14 of whom had acute ACL tears, prior ACL reconstruction, or chronic ACL deficiency. Three peripheral vertical tears were seen in the setting of a normal ACL. Of the 183 examinations with other types of meniscal tears, there were 17 cases with acute ACL tears, prior ACL reconstruction, or chronic ACL deficiency. The difference in the prevalence of ACL tear, reconstruction, or deficiency in knees with meniscal tears of the peripheral vertical type (82.4%) compared with the prevalence of ACL tear, reconstruction, or deficiency in knees with other types of meniscal tears (9.3%) was statistically significant (P < 0.001). The calculated specificity of the presence of peripheral vertical tear morphology in detecting an ACL injury in patients with meniscal tears was 98.2%. CONCLUSIONS: Peripheral vertical meniscal tears, particularly when involving the posterior horn, are highly associated with ACL tear, deficiency, or reconstruction. The finding of this type of tear on knee MR imaging should prompt close inspection of the ACL for evidence of acute or chronic injury, and its presence may help make the diagnosis of ACL tear in equivocal cases.
Vinson, EN; Gage, JA; Lacy, JN
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