Magnetic resonance imaging of the knee

Ryan Shulman, Adrian Wilson and Delia Peppercorn

in Oxford Textbook of Trauma and Orthopaedics

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199550647
Published online April 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199608249 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Magnetic resonance imaging of the knee

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  • Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Clinical Radiology


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ACL tear: abnormal fibres, tibial translation, PCL/patella tendon buckling, bone bruising

Meniscal tear: signal change to free edge

Bone bruising:

Reticular—not continuous subarticular bone

Geographic—extends to subarticular bone

Posterolateral corner:

Oblique slices through fibular head

Consists of lateral collateral ligament, popliteus, popliteofibular ligament, and arcuate complex.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has revolutionized the investigation and treatment of the painful knee. It is non-invasive and avoids patient exposure to ionizing radiation. MRI has the advantage of establishing diagnoses in a painful knee without the morbidity of surgical intervention. It is now widely available and has moved from a simple diagnostic adjunct into a key planning tool. It offers improved management of theatre resources and it allows for more accurate planning of postoperative rehabilitation.

The role of MRI in management of the injured knee is determined by its cost-effectiveness and its ability to augment the diagnostic accuracy of clinical examination. Accuracy of clinical examination by specialist orthopaedic surgeons is comparable to MRI when interpreted by specialist radiologists (Table 8.3.1). Increasingly, MRI has been shown to be cost neutral. Whilst costs are high, diagnostic information reduces the need for unnecessary surgery.

Chapter.  1502 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery ; Clinical Radiology

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