MRI a Valuable Screening for Knee Injuries
One may assume that a sports injury or other trauma to the knee may require exploration with x-rays. In many cases, the most accurate depiction of the knee joint may be obtained with MRI.
MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, captures images of internal structures by emitting magnetic waves into the body. These waves are not felt; they pass through the atmosphere and bounce back off of organs, bones, and tissues. Depending on the structure that magnetic waves come into contact with, they will bounce back differently. This helps the radiologist recognize the details of the body.
In the field of orthopedics, MRI may be used to observe the knee to diagnose:
The meniscus is cartilage within the knee joint that disperses weight across all joint structures. As such, it is the meniscus that stabilizes the knee. This wedge of tissue also acts as a cushion to reduce friction and stress within the joint. The meniscus usually has a triangular shape to it. Observing the joint space with MRI, it is possible to notice changes to that shape or even a shift in the position of cartilage.
The knee joint is supported by several ligaments, fibrous, flexible bands of tissue that regulate the movement of the knee. When investigating knee pain, MRI typically observes the:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which supports the shin bone at the front of the knee.
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which supports the shin bone, so it does not move too far to the back of the knee.
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL), which supports the inside angle of the knee joint.
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL), which supports the outside angle of the knee joint.
MRI can capture details of each of these ligaments, such as the disruption of fibers that may indicate a PCL tear or the presence of fluid that often coincides with an MCL or LCL injury.
Tendons connect bone to muscle. Two tendons support the knee: the patellar tendon at the kneecap and the quadriceps tendon at the thigh. Utilizing MRI, doctors can assess the stage of a knee injury such as “jumper’s knee” and may also gain a better understanding of the progression of a knee injury due to the observation of tendon malformation, inflammation, and scarring.
Hartzband Center for Knee & Hip Replacement utilizes proven technologies to achieve the most accurate diagnosis and measurement of injuries. To schedule a consultation in our Paramus, NJ office, call 201-291-4040.
Category: Knee Injury and Treatment