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BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to deliver standardised terminology for the identification and stratification of patients with meniscal lesions of the knee. METHODS: A national group of expert surgeons was convened by the British Association for Surgery of the Knee (BASK) and a formal consensus process was undertaken following a validated methodology. A combination of nominal group techniques and an iterative Delphi process was used to develop and refine relevant definitions. Where appropriate, definitions were placed into categories to facilitate use in clinical practice and guideline development. RESULTS: A degenerative meniscus develops progressively with degradation of meniscal tissue and this may be revealed by intra-meniscal high signal on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A meniscal tear was defined as a defect or split in the meniscocapsular complex, which can occur in a degenerative or non-degenerative meniscus. Degenerative meniscal lesions (high signal or tear) are frequent in the general population and are often incidental findings on knee MRI. Symptoms were defined and classified into three groups: (1) strongly suggestive of a treatable meniscal lesion, (2) potentially suggestive of a treatable meniscal lesion, (3) osteoarthritic. A strategy for radiological imaging (radiograph ± MRI) was agreed for the investigation of the patients with a possible meniscal tear. Meniscal lesions and tear patterns on MRI imaging were defined and classified with reference to potential treatability: (1) target, (2) possible target, (3) no target. CONCLUSIONS: The agreed terminology will enable patients with meniscal lesions to be identified and stratified consistently in clinical practice, research and guideline development.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





834 - 840


Consensus, Knee, Meniscal, Meniscectomy, Meniscus, Patient selection, Adult, Consensus, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Menisci, Tibial, Middle Aged, Orthopedic Procedures, Radiography, Tibial Meniscus Injuries