What causes cystic lesions of the knee?

Updated: Nov 12, 2020
  • Author: David M Gonzalez, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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Cysts about the knee have multiple etiologies, including irritated and inflamed bursae, meniscal cysts caused by intra-articular pathology, and special categories, such the following:

  • Baker cyst or popliteal cyst

  • Ganglia (both intra-articular and extra-articular)

  • Extraneural cysts

It is important to realize that other processes can mimic cysts on MRI. [14] Benign and malignant tumors must be ruled out during the workup of any cyst about the knee; other entities to consider are abscesses and vascular masses, such as popliteal vein varices and popliteal artery aneurysms.

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