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Open Access Research article

The relationship between lateral meniscus shape and joint contact parameters in the knee: a study using data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative

Kai Yu Zhang1, Angela E Kedgley1, Claire R Donoghue12, Daniel Rueckert2 and Anthony MJ Bull1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK

2 Department of Computing, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014, 16:R27  doi:10.1186/ar4455

Published: 28 January 2014

Abstract

Introduction

The meniscus has an important role in force transmission across the knee, but a detailed three-dimensional (3D) morphometric shape analysis of the lateral meniscus to elucidate subject-specific function has not been conducted. The aim of this study was to perform 3D morphometric analyses of the lateral meniscus in order to correlate shape variables with anthropometric parameters, thereby gaining a better understanding of the relationship between lateral meniscus shape and its load-bearing function.

Methods

The lateral meniscus (LM) was manually segmented from magnetic resonance images randomly selected from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) non-exposed control subcohort. A 3D statistical shape model (SSM) was constructed to extract the principal morphological variations (PMV) of the lateral meniscus for 50 subjects (25 male and 25 female). Correlations between the principal morphological variations and anthropometric parameters were tested. Anthropometric parameters that were selected included height, weight, body mass index (BMI), femoral condyle width and axial rotation.

Results

The first principal morphological variation (PMV) was found to correlate with height (r = 0.569), weight (r = 0.647), BMI (r = 0.376), and femoral condyle width (r = 0.622). The third PMV was found to correlate with height (r = 0.406), weight (r = 0.312), and femoral condyle width (r = 0.331). The percentage of the tibial plateau covered by the lateral meniscus decreases as anthropometric parameters relating to size of the subject increase. Furthermore, when the size of the subject increases, the posterior and anterior horns become proportionally longer and wider.

Conclusion

The correlations discovered suggest that variations in meniscal shape can be at least partially explained by the levels of loads transmitted across the knee on a regular basis. Additionally, as the size of the subject increases and body weight rises, the coverage percentage of the meniscus is reduced, suggesting that there would be an increase in the load-bearing by the cartilage. However, this reduced coverage percentage is compensated by the proportionally wider and longer meniscal horn.