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Association Between MRI Signal Intensity of the Repaired Lateral Meniscus and Residual Anterolateral Knee Laxity After ACL Reconstruction.

BACKGROUND: Anterolateral knee laxity (ALLx) has been linked to tears of the lateral meniscus (LM) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

PURPOSE: To investigate the longitudinal relationship between the signal intensity (SI) of the repaired LM on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and residual ALLx after ACL reconstruction (ACLR).

STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

METHODS: Included were 87 patients who underwent double-bundle ACLR and lateral meniscal repair (mean age, 23.5 years; body mass index, 23.7 kg/m2 ; 56 women) at a single institution between 2010 and 2019. Proton density-weighted (PDW) and T2-weighted (T2W) MRI was performed at 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively, and the SI ratio (SIR) was calculated as ( SI of the repaired LM )/( SI of the posterior cruciate ligament ). At the 12-month follow-up, ALLx was evaluated using the pivot-shift test; an International Knee Documentation Committee grade ≥1 indicated residual ALLx.

RESULTS: Overall, 12 patients (13.8%) exhibited ALLx at 12 months postoperatively. At 3 months postoperatively, the SIR on PDW images (SIR-PDW) was significantly higher in patients with ALLx versus those without ALLx (1.98 ± 0.77 vs 1.49 ± 0.52, respectively; P = .007); there was no difference in the SIR on T2W images between the groups. SIR-PDW at 3 months postoperatively was correlated negatively with patient age ( r = -0.308, P = .004). When patients were stratified into a younger (≤22 years; n = 53; ALLx = 7 [13.2%]) and an older (>22 years; n = 34; ALLx = 5 [14.7%]) group, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs) for SIR-PDW in the younger group were statistically significant for predicting the prevalence of ALLx at all follow-up times (AUCs, 0.733-0.788) with optimal cutoff values of 2.00 at 3 months, 1.50 at 6 months, and 1.50 at 12 months. Logistic regression analysis revealed that if younger patients consistently had higher SIR-PDW values than the cutoff values, they were more likely to have residual ALLx (odds ratios, 10.24-23.57).

CONCLUSION: For younger patients who underwent both ACLR and lateral meniscal repair, higher MRI SI of the repaired LM was associated with a higher prevalence of residual ALLx.

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