Radial meniscal tear

Last revised by Dai Roberts on 5 Jan 2022

Radial meniscal tears are a category of meniscal tear where the tear extends radially from the free edge of a meniscus across its short axis. 

Radial tears extend across the short axis of a meniscus perpendicularly to the tibial plateau and will extend in a radial orientation from the central intercondylar region.  This is opposed to horizontal and vertical meniscus tears, which make up the other planes of meniscal tears.  Transection is an alternative term for a complete radial tear. 

Complete radial tears will disrupt the hoop strength of the meniscus with resultant loss of function and meniscal extrusion.  They tend to predominate at the:

Fluid cleft within the low signal meniscus extending from the central free edge towards the periphery, perpendicular to the articular surface.

The marching cleft sign indicates a parrot beak radial tear. 

The ghost meniscus sign indicates a complete radial tear.  

Often not repaired as will involve the central avascular zone of the meniscus and therefore in adults have a low likelihood of healing 2.

A meniscal flounce can be mistaken for a radial tear 2.

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