In the present study, the objectives were to study the morphology of the lateral menisci (LMs) in human fetuses from a South Indian population and to verify the developmental etiology of the discoid lateral meniscus (DLM). The study included 106 fetal knee joints which were fixed in 10% formalin. After dissecting the joints, the morphological variants of the shapes of the LMs were macroscopically noted and classified as discoid and nondiscoid. The nondiscoids were subdivided into C-shaped and crescentic. The discoid lateral menisci (DLMs) were divided into complete and incomplete discoid. From our observations, 82.1% of the LMs were found to be nondiscoid. Among them, 62.3% were C-shaped and 19.8% were crescentic. The remaining 17.9% of the LMs had a discoid shape, and among these, 14.1% were incomplete discoid and 3.8% were completely discoid. Bilaterality of the discoid shape was observed in 26.6% of the cases. There was a female preponderance (11:8) among LMs with discoid morphology. In conclusion, the prevalence of DLM according to the present study was estimated as 17.9%. Our findings favor Kaplan's theory, as the majority of the fetuses of various gestational ages had nondiscoid LMs. Even the youngest fetus (CRL 88 mm, 14 weeks of gestation) exhibited a lateral tibial plateau that was incompletely covered by the meniscus, which did not exhibit a discoid shape. We believe that the DLM is anomalous and arises through variant morphogenesis.
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