Comparison of knee SPECT and MRI in evaluating meniscus injuries in soldiers

Maya Wertman, Charles Milgrom*, Gabriel Agar, Yael Milgrom, Newton Yalom, Aharon S. Finestone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Medical evaluation of a suspected meniscus injury begins with a history-taking and physical examination.

arthroscopy. Tc-MDP bone single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan has been suggested as an alternative to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in evaluating suspected knee meniscus tears.

Objectives: To examine the accuracy of knee SPECT as a tool to identify meniscus tears versus that of MRI as compared to the gold standard of arthroscopy.

Methods: The Israel Defense Forces database for 2005 through 2009 was searched using the key words: knee MRI, knee SPECT and knee arthroscopy. We identified 330 subjects who had undergone both a single knee SPECT and a single knee MRI prior to knee surgery. The medical files of 193 of the 330 subjects were randomly selected for review. A comparison was made between the preoperative SPECT and MRI studies and the arthroscopic finding. The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy were calculated.

Results: The subjects’ age was 21.3 ± 3.9. The agreement between SPECT and arthroscopy was 0.14 for the medial meniscus and 0.29 for the lateral meniscus. The agreement between MRI and arthroscopy was 0.59 for the medial meniscus and 0.69 for the lateral meniscus. SPECT scan was found to be 61% sensitive, 54% specific and 58% accurate in detecting common knee pathology, whereas MRI was found to be 95% sensitive, 67% specific and 85% accurate.

Conclusions: Knee SPECT has a lower sensitivity, specificity and accuracy than MRI in evaluating meniscal injuries and its use can result in increased unnecessary surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703
Number of pages1
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2014


  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear
  • Knee Tc-MDP bone single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)
  • Knee arthroscopy
  • Knee magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Meniscal tear


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