Medial meniscal extrusion: a validation study comparing different methods of assessment
Mellon S., Jones L., Kruger N., Monk A., Price A., Beard D.
Purpose Longitudinal cohort studies of knee OA aetiology use MRI to assess meniscal extrusion within the same knee at sequential time points. A validated method of assessment is required to ensure that extrusion is measured at the same location within the knee at each time point. Absolute perpendicular extrusion from the tibial edge can be assessed using the reference standard of segmentation of the tibia and medial meniscus. This is labour intensive and unsuitable for large cohorts. Two methods are commonly used as proxy measurements. Firstly, the apex of the medial tibial spine is used to identify a reproducible MRI coronal slice, from which extrusion is measured. Secondly, the coronal MRI slice of the knee demonstrating the greatest extrusion is used. The purpose of this study was to validate these two methods against the reference standard and to determine the most appropriate method to use in longitudinal cohort studies. We hypothesised that there is no difference in absolute meniscal extrusion measurements between methods. Methods Twenty high-resolution knee MRI scans were obtained in asymptomatic subjects. The tibia and medial meniscus were manually segmented. A custom MATLAB program was used to determine the difference in medial meniscal extrusion of the knee using the reference standard compared to the two other methods. Results Assessing extrusion using the single coronal MRI slice demonstrating the greatest extrusion overestimates the true extrusion of the medial meniscus. It incorrectly places the greatest meniscal extrusion at the anterior part of the tibia. Assessing extrusion using a consistent anatomical landmark, such as the medial tibial spine, most reliably corresponds to the reference of segmentation and measurement of true perpendicular extrusion from the tibial edge. Clinicians and researchers should consider this when assessing meniscal extrusion in the knee, and how it changes over time. Conclusion This study suggests measuring meniscal extrusion on the coronal MRI slice corresponding to the apex of the medial tibial spine as this correlates most closely with the true perpendicular extrusion measurements obtained from manually segmented models.