Don’t perform routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the knee in the event of acute pain from trauma or chronic pain.

Type of practice


Topic Area

Medical Radiology

MRI of the knee is often prescribed before an orthopedic clinical examination or specialist request, to patients of any age; even when this examination is not useful to a therapeutic decision.Patient history, accurate physical examination and knee radiograph are usually sufficient for diagnosing most of knee injuries that will benefit from a conservative medical and physical treatment. in the absence of clinical signs of alarm, performing a MRI of the knee in the first 4-6 weeks in acute pain from trauma or early in chronic pain, does not modify the therapeutic approach, but could lead to incidental findings, to further tests and even to unnecessary surgery which represents a high cost for the community. MRI should be considered only when it will lead to a more accurate diagnosis for the choice of a more adequate treatment.


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5. Pompan D.C. Appropriate use of MRI for evaluating common muscoloskeletal conditions Am Fam Physicians 2011; 83 (8): 883-884.

Attention. Please note that these items are provided only for information and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a clinician. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their clinician.