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Popliteal Cyst
Kirkland W. Davis, MD, FACR; Andrew Sonin, MD, FACR; Donna G. Blankenbaker, MD, FACR
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KEY FACTS

  • Terminology

    • Imaging

      • Top Differential Diagnoses

        • Clinical Issues

          • Diagnostic Checklist

            TERMINOLOGY

            • Synonyms

              • Baker cyst, semimembranosus (SM)-gastrocnemius (GN) bursa
            • Definitions

              • Fluid distention of knee joint recess in posteromedial popliteal fossa
              • Some authors use "popliteal cyst" for any cystic lesion in popliteal fossa, including large parameniscal cysts; here, term is reserved for classic Baker cysts

            IMAGING

            • General Features

              • Radiographic Findings

                • CT Findings

                  • MR Findings

                    • Ultrasonographic Findings

                      • Imaging Recommendations

                        DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

                          PATHOLOGY

                          • General Features

                            • Staging, Grading, & Classification

                              • Gross Pathologic & Surgical Features

                                • Microscopic Features

                                  CLINICAL ISSUES

                                  • Presentation

                                    • Demographics

                                      • Natural History & Prognosis

                                        • Treatment

                                          DIAGNOSTIC CHECKLIST

                                          • Consider

                                            • Image Interpretation Pearls

                                              • Reporting Tips

                                                Selected References

                                                1. Leow KS et al: Sonographic assessment of musculoskeletal causes of calf pain and swelling. Emerg Radiol. 26(3):349-59, 2019
                                                2. Ruangchaijatuporn T et al: Ultrasound evaluation of bursae: anatomy and pathological appearances. Skeletal Radiol. 46(4):445-62, 2017
                                                3. Shah A et al: A diagnostic approach to popliteal fossa masses. Clin Radiol. 72(4):323-37, 2017
                                                4. Zhou XN et al: Surgical treatment of popliteal cyst: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Orthop Surg Res. 11:22, 2016
                                                5. Bandinelli F et al: Longitudinal ultrasound and clinical follow-up of Baker's cysts injection with steroids in knee osteoarthritis. Clin Rheumatol. 31(4):727-31, 2012
                                                6. Chatzopoulos D et al: Baker's cysts in knees with chronic osteoarthritic pain: a clinical, ultrasonographic, radiographic and scintigraphic evaluation. Rheumatol Int. 29(2):141-6, 2008
                                                7. Marra MD et al: MRI features of cystic lesions around the knee. Knee. 15(6):423-38, 2008
                                                8. Ahn JH et al: Arthroscopic cystectomy for popliteal cysts through the posteromedial cystic portal. Arthroscopy. 23(5):559, 2007
                                                9. Acebes JC et al: Ultrasonographic assessment of Baker's cysts after intra-articular corticosteroid injection in knee osteoarthritis. J Clin Ultrasound. 34(3):113-7, 2006
                                                10. Fritschy D et al: The popliteal cyst. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 14(7):623-8, 2006
                                                11. Fang CS et al: Intramuscular dissection of Baker's cysts: report on three cases. Skeletal Radiol. 33(6):367-71, 2004
                                                12. McCarthy CL et al: The MRI appearance of cystic lesions around the knee. Skeletal Radiol. 33(4):187-209, 2004
                                                13. Rupp S et al: Popliteal cysts in adults. Prevalence, associated intraarticular lesions, and results after arthroscopic treatment. Am J Sports Med. 30(1):112-5, 2002
                                                14. Torreggiani WC et al: The imaging spectrum of Baker's (Popliteal) cysts. Clin Radiol. 57(8):681-91, 2002
                                                15. Friedman L et al: Ultrasound of the knee. Skeletal Radiol. 30(7):361-77, 2001
                                                16. Handy JR: Popliteal cysts in adults: a review. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 31(2):108-18, 2001
                                                17. Sansone V et al: Popliteal cysts and associated disorders of the knee. Critical review with MR imaging. Int Orthop. 19(5):275-9, 1995
                                                18. Pathria MN et al: Ultrasonography of the popliteal fossa and lower extremities. Radiol Clin North Am. 26(1):77-85, 1988
                                                Related Anatomy
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                                                Related Differential Diagnoses
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                                                References
                                                Tables

                                                Tables

                                                KEY FACTS

                                                • Terminology

                                                  • Imaging

                                                    • Top Differential Diagnoses

                                                      • Clinical Issues

                                                        • Diagnostic Checklist

                                                          TERMINOLOGY

                                                          • Synonyms

                                                            • Baker cyst, semimembranosus (SM)-gastrocnemius (GN) bursa
                                                          • Definitions

                                                            • Fluid distention of knee joint recess in posteromedial popliteal fossa
                                                            • Some authors use "popliteal cyst" for any cystic lesion in popliteal fossa, including large parameniscal cysts; here, term is reserved for classic Baker cysts

                                                          IMAGING

                                                          • General Features

                                                            • Radiographic Findings

                                                              • CT Findings

                                                                • MR Findings

                                                                  • Ultrasonographic Findings

                                                                    • Imaging Recommendations

                                                                      DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

                                                                        PATHOLOGY

                                                                        • General Features

                                                                          • Staging, Grading, & Classification

                                                                            • Gross Pathologic & Surgical Features

                                                                              • Microscopic Features

                                                                                CLINICAL ISSUES

                                                                                • Presentation

                                                                                  • Demographics

                                                                                    • Natural History & Prognosis

                                                                                      • Treatment

                                                                                        DIAGNOSTIC CHECKLIST

                                                                                        • Consider

                                                                                          • Image Interpretation Pearls

                                                                                            • Reporting Tips

                                                                                              Selected References

                                                                                              1. Leow KS et al: Sonographic assessment of musculoskeletal causes of calf pain and swelling. Emerg Radiol. 26(3):349-59, 2019
                                                                                              2. Ruangchaijatuporn T et al: Ultrasound evaluation of bursae: anatomy and pathological appearances. Skeletal Radiol. 46(4):445-62, 2017
                                                                                              3. Shah A et al: A diagnostic approach to popliteal fossa masses. Clin Radiol. 72(4):323-37, 2017
                                                                                              4. Zhou XN et al: Surgical treatment of popliteal cyst: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Orthop Surg Res. 11:22, 2016
                                                                                              5. Bandinelli F et al: Longitudinal ultrasound and clinical follow-up of Baker's cysts injection with steroids in knee osteoarthritis. Clin Rheumatol. 31(4):727-31, 2012
                                                                                              6. Chatzopoulos D et al: Baker's cysts in knees with chronic osteoarthritic pain: a clinical, ultrasonographic, radiographic and scintigraphic evaluation. Rheumatol Int. 29(2):141-6, 2008
                                                                                              7. Marra MD et al: MRI features of cystic lesions around the knee. Knee. 15(6):423-38, 2008
                                                                                              8. Ahn JH et al: Arthroscopic cystectomy for popliteal cysts through the posteromedial cystic portal. Arthroscopy. 23(5):559, 2007
                                                                                              9. Acebes JC et al: Ultrasonographic assessment of Baker's cysts after intra-articular corticosteroid injection in knee osteoarthritis. J Clin Ultrasound. 34(3):113-7, 2006
                                                                                              10. Fritschy D et al: The popliteal cyst. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 14(7):623-8, 2006
                                                                                              11. Fang CS et al: Intramuscular dissection of Baker's cysts: report on three cases. Skeletal Radiol. 33(6):367-71, 2004
                                                                                              12. McCarthy CL et al: The MRI appearance of cystic lesions around the knee. Skeletal Radiol. 33(4):187-209, 2004
                                                                                              13. Rupp S et al: Popliteal cysts in adults. Prevalence, associated intraarticular lesions, and results after arthroscopic treatment. Am J Sports Med. 30(1):112-5, 2002
                                                                                              14. Torreggiani WC et al: The imaging spectrum of Baker's (Popliteal) cysts. Clin Radiol. 57(8):681-91, 2002
                                                                                              15. Friedman L et al: Ultrasound of the knee. Skeletal Radiol. 30(7):361-77, 2001
                                                                                              16. Handy JR: Popliteal cysts in adults: a review. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 31(2):108-18, 2001
                                                                                              17. Sansone V et al: Popliteal cysts and associated disorders of the knee. Critical review with MR imaging. Int Orthop. 19(5):275-9, 1995
                                                                                              18. Pathria MN et al: Ultrasonography of the popliteal fossa and lower extremities. Radiol Clin North Am. 26(1):77-85, 1988