Meniscal root tear

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Yuranga Weerakkody et al.

Meniscal root tears are a type of meniscal tear in the knee where the tear extends to either the anterior or posterior meniscal root attachment to the central tibial plateau. They often tend to be radial tears extending into the root. 

According to one source, they are thought to account for ~10% of all arthroscopic meniscectomies 5.

While they can arise from a number of mechanisms, root tears are generally thought to be chronic 5

  • ACL tears are associated with posterior horn root tears of the lateral meniscus 

Best assessed on T2 weighted sequences. When it involves the posterior root, medial root tears are easier to diagnose than lateral root tears.

On medial posterior root tears there is often 2:

  • shortening or absence of the root on sagittal images
  • vertical fluid cleft on coronal fluid-sensitive (T2) images

On posterior root radial tears of the lateral meniscus, the appearance may be similar to radial tears in other locations.

For root tears in general, sagittal imaging may demonstrate a meniscal ghost sign.

Other features include:

They were first described by M J Pagnani et al. in 1991 6.

Knee pathology

The knee is a complex synovial joint that can be affected by a range of pathologies:

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Article information

rID: 40036
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Root tear of meniscus
  • Meniscal root tears
  • Root tears
  • Root tears of meniscus
  • Root tears of menisci
  • Root tears of the meniscus
  • Root tear of the meniscus

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Cases and figures

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  • Case 2: red arrow
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4
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  • Case 5: posterior root medial meniscus
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  • Case 6: root tear of medial meniscus
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