Prevalence of abnormal findings in 230 knees of asymptomatic adults using 3.0 T MRI

Laura M Horga, Anna C Hirschmann, Johann Henckel, Anastasia Fotiadou, Anna Di Laura, Camilla Torlasco, Andrew D'Silva, Sanjay Sharma, James C Moon, Alister J Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To identify abnormalities in asymptomatic sedentary individuals using 3.0 Tesla high-resolution MRI.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The cohort comprised of 230 knees of 115 uninjured sedentary adults (51 males, 64 females; median age: 44 years). All participants had bilateral knee 3.0 T MRIs. Two senior musculoskeletal radiologists graded all intraarticular knee structures using validated scoring systems. Participants completed Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score questionnaires at the time of the MRI scan.

RESULTS: MRI showed abnormalities in the majority (97%) of knees. Thirty percent knees had meniscal tears: horizontal (23%), complex (3%), vertical (2%), radial (2%) and bucket handle (1%). Cartilage and bone marrow abnormalities were prevalent at the patellofemoral joint (57% knees and 48% knees, respectively). Moderate and severe cartilage lesions were common, in 19% and 31% knees, respectively, while moderate and severe bone marrow oedema in 19% and 31% knees, respectively. Moderate-intensity lesion in tendons was found in 21% knees and high-grade tendonitis in 6% knees-the patellar (11% and 2%, respectively) and quadriceps (7% and 2%, respectively) tendons being most affected. Three percent partial ligamentous ruptures were found, especially of the anterior cruciate ligament (2%).

CONCLUSION: Nearly all knees of asymptomatic adults showed abnormalities in at least one knee structure on MRI. Meniscal tears, cartilage and bone marrow lesions of the patellofemoral joint were the most common pathological findings. Bucket handle and complex meniscal tears were reported for the first time in asymptomatic knees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1107
Number of pages9
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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