Mucoid degeneration of the ACL, along with tears and anterior cruciate ligament ganglion cysts, is a relatively common cause of increased signal within the ACL.
The appearance can mimic that of acute or chronic interstitial partial tears of the ACL, however in the case of mucoid degeneration secondary signs of ACL injury are usually absent. Secondary signs include: bone bruising, meniscal tears, anterior subluxation of the tibia, and other ligament injuries.
Typically patients present with knee pain, or restricted movement, although often other potential causes for the patient's symptoms are found.
The pathogenesis remains controversial. Possible aetiologies include:
- age related (senescent) degeneration,
- congenital or acquired synovialtissue entrapment between ACL fibers
It is postulated that mucoid degeneration may be a predisposing factor to the formation of ACL ganglion cysts.
On MRI the ligament is thickened, and ill-defined with a "celery stalk" appearance. It's signal is increased on all sequences.Intact fibres are best seen on T2 weighted sequences.
MRI is better at detecting mucoid degeneration than arthroscopy as the surface of the ligmanet is often intact. I
Treatment and prognosis
No treatment is usually required. If arthroscopy is performed the ligament may appear entirely normal especially using the standard anterior portal approach. A posterior approach will allow the arthroscopist to detect changes by probing the ligament and mucoid material can be expressed.
- 1. Roberts CC, Towers JD, Spangehl MJ et-al. Advanced MR imaging of the cruciate ligaments. Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am. 2007;15 (1): 73-86. doi:10.1016/j.mric.2007.02.006 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Bergin D, Morrison WB, Carrino JA et-al. Anterior cruciate ligament ganglia and mucoid degeneration: coexistence and clinical correlation. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2004;182 (5): 1283-7. AJR Am J Roentgenol (full text) - Pubmed citation
- 3. Resnick D, Kransdorf MJ. Bone and joint imaging. W B Saunders Co. (2005) ISBN:0721602703. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 4. Papadopoulou P. The celery stalk sign. Radiology. 2007;245 (3): 916-7. doi:10.1148/radiol.2453050159 - Pubmed citation
Synonyms & Alternative Spellings
|Synonyms or Alternative Spelling||Include in Listings?|
|Anterior cruciate ligament mucoid degenration||✗|
|Mucoid degeneration of ACL||✗|
|Mucoid degeneration of the ACL||✗|
|Mucoid degeneration of the anterior cruciate ligament||✗|