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Open Access Research article

Revision 1 Size and position of the healthy meniscus, and its Correlation with sex, height, weight, and bone area- a cross-sectional study

Katja Bloecker1*, Martin Englund23, Wolfgang Wirth14, Martin Hudelmaier14, Rainer Burgkart5, Richard B Frobell16 and Felix Eckstein14

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Anatomy & Musculoskeletal Research, Paracelsus Medical University (PMU) Salzburg, Austria

2 Department of Orthopedics, Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

3 Clinical Epidemiology Research & Training Unit, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

4 Chondrometrics GmbH, Ainring, Germany

5 Clinic for Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Technical University Munich, Germany

6 Department of Orthopedics, Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2011, 12:248  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-248

Published: 28 October 2011

Abstract

Background

Meniscus extrusion or hypertrophy may occur in knee osteoarthritis (OA). However, currently no data are available on the position and size of the meniscus in asymptomatic men and women with normal meniscus integrity.

Methods

Three-dimensional coronal DESSwe MRIs were used to segment and quantitatively measure the size and position of the medial and lateral menisci, and their correlation with sex, height, weight, and tibial plateau area. 102 knees (40 male and 62 female) were drawn from the Osteoarthritis Initiative "non-exposed" reference cohort, including subjects without symptoms, radiographic signs, or risk factors for knee OA. Knees with MRI signs of meniscus lesions were excluded.

Results

The tibial plateau area was significantly larger (p < 0.001) in male knees than in female ones (+23% medially; +28% laterally), as was total meniscus surface area (p < 0.001, +20% medially; +26% laterally). Ipsi-compartimental tibial plateau area was more strongly correlated with total meniscus surface area in men (r = .72 medially; r = .62 laterally) and women (r = .67; r = .75) than contra-compartimental or total tibial plateau area, body height or weight. The ratio of meniscus versus tibial plateau area was similar between men and women (p = 0.22 medially; p = 0.72 laterally). Tibial coverage by the meniscus was similar between men and women (50% medially; 58% laterally), but "physiological" medial meniscal extrusion was greater in women (1.83 ± 1.06mm) than in men (1.24mm ± 1.18mm; p = 0.011).

Conclusions

These data suggest that meniscus surface area strongly scales with (ipsilateral) tibial plateau area across both sexes, and that tibial coverage by the meniscus is similar between men and women.