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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Clinical examination, MRI and arthroscopy in meniscal and ligamentous knee Injuries – a prospective study

TR Madhusudhan1*, TM Kumar2, SS Bastawrous3 and A Sinha3

Author Affiliations

1 Registrar, Department of Orthopaedics, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, North Wales, LL18 5UJ, UK

2 Associate specialist, Department of Orthopaedics, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, North Wales, LL18 5UJ, UK

3 Consultant orthopaedic surgeons, Department of Orthopaedics, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, North Wales, LL18 5UJ, UK

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Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2008, 3:19  doi:10.1186/1749-799X-3-19

Published: 19 May 2008

Abstract

Data from 565 knee arthroscopies performed by two experienced knee surgeons between 2002 and 2005 for degenerative joint disorders, ligament injuries, loose body removals, lateral release of the patellar retinaculum, plica division, and adhesiolysis was prospectively collected. A subset of 109 patients from the above group who sequentially had clinical examination, MRI and arthroscopy for suspected meniscal and ligament injuries were considered for the present study and the data was reviewed. Patients with previous menisectomies, knee ligament repairs or reconstructions and knee arthroscopies were excluded from the study. Patients were categorised into three groups on objective clinical assessment: Those who were positive for either meniscal or cruciate ligament injury [group 1]; both meniscal and cruciate ligament injury [group 2] and those with highly suggestive symptoms and with negative clinical signs [group 3]. MRI was requested for confirmation of diagnosis and for additional information in all these patients. Two experienced radiologists reported MRI films. Clinical and MRI findings were compared with Arthroscopy as the gold standard. A thorough clinical examination performed by a skilled examiner more accurately correlated at Arthroscopy. MRI added no information in group 1 patients, valuable information in group 2 and was equivocal in group 3 patients. A negative MRI did not prevent an arthroscopy. In this study, specificity, positive and negative predictive values were more favourable for clinical examination though MRI was more sensitive for meniscal injuries. The use of MRI as a supplemental tool in the management of meniscal and ligament injuries should be highly individualised by an experienced surgeon.