Objective: The composition of cervical-spine meniscoids may have clinical significance in neck-pain conditions, but the accuracy of assessment of meniscoid composition in vivo using magnetic resonance imaging has not been established. The aim of this study was to compare cervical-spine meniscoid composition by magnetic resonance imaging with histologic composition.
Methods: Four embalmed cadaveric cervical spines (mean [standard deviation] age, 79.5 [3.7] years; 1 female, 3 male) underwent magnetic resonance imaging, allowing radiologic classification of lateral atlantoaxial- and zygapophyseal-joint (C2-3 to C6-7) meniscoids as either mostly fatty, mixed tissue, or mostly connective tissue. Subsequently, each joint was dissected and disarticulated to allow excision of meniscoids for histologic processing. Each meniscoid was sectioned sagittally, stained with hematoxylin and eosin, examined using light microscopy, and classified as adipose, fibroadipose, or fibrous in composition. Data were analyzed using the kappa statistic with linear weighting.
Results: From dissection, 62 meniscoids were identified, excised, and processed; 46 of these 62 were visualized with magnetic resonance imaging. For single-rater identifying structures, agreement between assessment of meniscoid composition by magnetic resonance imaging and by microscopy was fair (κ = 0.24; 95% confidence interval, 0.02-0.46; P = .02).
Conclusion: Findings suggest that the accuracy of this method of magnetic resonance imaging assessment of cervical-spine meniscoid composition may be limited. This should be considered when planning or interpreting research investigating meniscoid composition using magnetic resonance imaging.
Author keywords: Atlanto-Axial Joint; Dissection; Histological Techniques; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Zygapophyseal Joint
Author affiliations: SFF: RECOVER Injury Research Centre, National Health and Medical Research Council Centre for Research Excellence in Recovery Following Road Traffic Injuries, The University of Queensland, Herston, Australia; Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia; Otago Medical School, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand; Institute for Health Sciences, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland; PGO: School of Health Sciences, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia
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