The Knee, ISSN: 1873-5800, Vol: 19, Issue: 6, Page: 896-901

Relation between cartilage volume and meniscal contact in medial osteoarthritis of the knee

Arno, Sally; Walker, Peter S; Bell, Christopher P; Krasnokutsky, Svetlana; Samuels, Jonathan; Abramson, Steven B; Regatte, Ravinder; Recht, Michael


The purpose was to determine the relationship between the cartilage volumes in different regions of the femur and tibia, and the lengths of contacts between the meniscus and cartilage. The rationale was that less meniscal contact would make the cartilage more susceptible to loss of volume due to degeneration and wear.


Fifty MRI scans of osteoarthritic knees at varying degrees of severity were obtained. Computer models of the cartilage layers of the distal femur and proximal tibia were generated, from which cartilage volumes and thicknesses were calculated for different regions. The lengths of meniscal contact and heights were measured in frontal and sagittal views.


Cartilage loss progressed initially on the central and inner regions of the distal femur, and on the tibia in the region uncovered by the meniscus. As the cartilage volume decreased further, the wear spread medially, and to a lesser extent anteriorly and posteriorly. There were inverse relations between the loss of volume on both the femur and tibia, and the meniscal contacts and heights.


Cartilage loss initially occurred where there was direct contact between the cartilage of the femur and tibia. The meniscus did not prevent this, nor prevent the spread of the wear medially. This may have been due to the progressive reduction of cartilage-meniscal contact as the meniscus subluxed or lost substance, as the cartilage loss and deformity progressed. This suggested that the meniscus was not able to ameliorate the forces and pressures on the cartilage surfaces to prevent degeneration.

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