Accuracy measures of 1.5-tesla MRI for the diagnosis of ACL, meniscus and articular knee cartilage damage and characteristics of false negative lesions: a level III prognostic study

Jonathan E.J. Koch, Ron Ben-Elyahu, Basel Khateeb, Michael Ringart, Meir Nyska, Nissim Ohana, Gideon Mann, Iftach Hetsroni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: MRI is the most accurate imaging modality for diagnosing knee pathologies. However, there is uncertainty concerning factors predicting false negative MRI, such as meniscal tear patterns as well as patient factors. The aims of this study were to report 1.5-Tesla MRI accuracy of ACL, meniscus and articular cartilage damage and characterize false negative lesions. Methods: Two hundred eighteen consecutive knee arthroscopies performed in our institution between 2013 and 2016 and their respective prospectively-collected MRI reports were reviewed. Inclusion criteria were age > 15 years-old, primary arthroscopy, 1.5-Tesla MRI performed at the same institution, and time interval MRI-surgery < 6 months. Exclusion criteria were revision arthroscopy and arthroscopic-assisted fracture fixation or multiligament surgery. Accuracy measures and Kappa coefficients were calculated comparing the MRI diagnosis to the arthroscopic findings. Moreover, the arthroscopic findings of false negative MRI were compared to the findings of true positive MRI using the Fisher-exact test. Pearson correlation was used for testing the correlation between MRI accuracy and patient age. Results: The highest accuracy was observed in medial meniscus and in ACL findings. For the medial meniscus sensitivity, specificity, agreement, and Kappa coefficient were 77, 92, 86%, and 0.7, and for the ACL these measures were 82, 97, 87%, and 0.73. MRI accuracy was lower in the lateral meniscus and articular cartilage with Kappa coefficient 0.42 and 0.3, respectively. More specifically, short peripheral tears in the posterior horn of the medial meniscus were characteristic of false negative findings compared to true positive findings of the MRI (p < 0.01). MRI accuracy correlated negatively compared to arthroscopic findings with patient age for the medial meniscus (r = − 0.21, p = 0.002) and for articular cartilage damage (r = − 0.45, p < 0.001). Conclusion: 1.5-Tesla MRI will accurately diagnose ACL and medial meniscal tears and can reliably complete the diagnostic workup following physical examination, particularly in young adults. This modality however is not reliable for diagnosing short peripheral tears at the posterior horn of the medial meniscus and partial thickness articular cartilage lesion of the femoral condyles. For these lesions, definitive diagnosis may require cartilage-specific MRI sequences or direct arthroscopic evaluation. Level of evidence: Prognostic study, Level III.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • 5-tesla
  • Articular knee cartilage
  • False-negative MRI
  • Meniscocapsular lesion
  • Ramp lesion


Dive into the research topics of 'Accuracy measures of 1.5-tesla MRI for the diagnosis of ACL, meniscus and articular knee cartilage damage and characteristics of false negative lesions: a level III prognostic study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this