This study aimed to evaluate the overall diagnostic value of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with suspected meniscal tears. PubMed, Cochrane, Embase database updated to November 2017 were searched by the index words to identify qualified studies, including prospective cohort studies and cross-sectional studies. Literature was also identified by tracking using reference lists. Heterogeneity of the included studies was reviewed to select proper effects model for pooled weighted sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR). Summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) analyses were performed for meniscal tears. A total of 17 studies were involved in this meta-analysis to explore the diagnostic accuracy of MRI for meniscal tears. The global sensitivity and specificity of MRI of meniscal tears were 92.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 88.0-95.0%) and 90.0% (95% CI: 85.0-95.0%) in medial meniscal tears, and 80.0% (95% CI: 66.0-89.0%) and 95.0% (95% CI: 91.0-97.0%) in lateral meniscal tears, respectively. Moreover, the global positive and negative likelihood ratio of MRI of meniscal tears were 10.33 (95% CI: 6.04-17.67) and 0.09 (95% CI: 0.05-0.14) in medial meniscal tears; 16.48 (95% CI: 8.81-30.83) and 0.21 (95% CI: 0.12-0.37) in lateral meniscal tears, respectively. The global DOR was 81.69 (95% CI: 37.94-175.91) in medial meniscal tears and 56.59 (95% CI: 22.51-142.28) in lateral meniscal tears. The results of area under the SROC indicated high accuracy in medial meniscal tears (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.95-0.98) and lateral meniscal tears (AUC = 0.96, 95% CI: 0.94-0.97). This review presents a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of MRI of meniscal tears. Moderate-to-strong evidence suggests that MRI appears to be associated with higher diagnostic accuracy for detecting medial and lateral meniscal tears.