MR diagnosis of meniscal tears: analysis of causes of errors

AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology
A A De SmetJ S Swan

Abstract

MR imaging of the knee is an accurate method for diagnosing meniscal tears. However, MR findings do not always agree with surgical findings. In a retrospective study, we analyzed the various causes of incorrect MR diagnoses. We reviewed a series of 400 MR examinations for suspected meniscal tears in which the diagnostic accuracy was 90%. In this group, we found 70 patients in whom the original MR diagnosis did not agree with the surgical findings. Three musculoskeletal radiologists independently reviewed each of the 70 MR examinations without knowledge of the original interpretation or the surgical findings. Their interpretations and the MR images then were correlated with the surgical findings. The original incorrect diagnoses were categorized as being due to unavoidable errors, errors in interpretation, or errors made because of equivocal MR findings of a tear. Unavoidable errors were defined as false-positive and false-negative diagnoses that could not be avoided, even in retrospect. Of the 83 original diagnostic errors made in the MR evaluation of 800 menisci, 33 (40%) were unavoidable errors, 32 (39%) were due to equivocal MR findings, and 18 (21%) were due to interpretation errors. The unavoidable errors consisted of 21 m...Continue Reading

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