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Meniscal degeneration is prognostic of destabilzing meniscal tear and accelerated knee osteoarthritis: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative.

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Ward, Robert J 
MacKay, James W 
McAlindon, Timothy E 
Lu, Bing 


The objective of this study was to assess the prognostic potential of magnetic resonance (MR)-detected meniscal degeneration in relation to incident destabilizing meniscal tears (radial, complex, root, or macerated) or accelerated knee osteoarthritis (AKOA). We used existing MR data from a case-control study of three groups from the Osteoarthritis Initiative without radiographic KOA at baseline: AKOA, typical KOA, and no KOA. From these groups, we included people without medial and lateral meniscal tear at baseline (n = 226) and 48-month meniscal data (n = 221). Intermediate-weighted fat-suppressed MR images annually from baseline to the 48-month visit were graded using a semiquantitative meniscal tear classification criterion. Incident destabilizing meniscal tear was defined as progressing from an intact meniscus to a destabilizing tear by the 48-month visit. We used two logistic regression models to assess whether: (1) presence of medial meniscal degeneration was associated with an incident medial destabilizing meniscal tear, and (2) presence of meniscal degeneration in either meniscus was associated with incident AKOA over the next 4 years. People with the presence of a medial meniscal degeneration had three times the odds of developing an incident destabilizing medial meniscal tear within 4 years compared with a person without medial meniscus degeneration (odds ratio [OR]: 3.03; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.40-6.59). People with meniscal degeneration had five times the odds of developing incident AKOA within 4 years compared with a person without meniscal degeneration in either meniscus (OR: 5.04; 95% CI: 2.57-9.89). Meniscal degeneration on MR is clinically meaningful as it relates to future poor outcomes.



degeneration, magnetic resonance imaging, meniscus, Humans, Osteoarthritis, Knee, Prognosis, Case-Control Studies, Menisci, Tibial, Knee Injuries, Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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J Orthop Res

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National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (K01 AR081389, R01 AR065977)