Got Knee Pain? You Might Be Able To Skip the MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is one of the most powerful tools that we orthopedic surgeons have in our repertoire. Because MRIs offer a more granular image of the body’s internal structures, including blood flow and soft tissues, it is the preferred diagnostic tool for most orthopedic cases.

But x-rays are making a comeback. Far older and more limited than MRIs, x-rays nonetheless offer valuable information to orthopedists and other specialists, at a fraction of the cost. Sometimes that information suffices for diagnosis and treatment of knee pain, rendering the MRI redundant at best:

While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is widely used by doctors to diagnose problems like torn knee ligaments and cartilage, a study in the September 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found that a simple x-ray may be a better diagnostic tool as it helps reduce time and cost.

The full study addresses the question of how often an MRI provides actionable information beyond what an x-ray has revealed; the answer is, not much. In many cases an x-ray can suffice on its own, saving patients a needless hassle while expediting the treatment of their knee pain.

The San Diego Orthopedic Surgery Center at AOSM boasts state of the art technologies for diagnosing and treating the most stubborn cases of knee pain in San Diego. To set up your own appointment with the best knee doctors in Southern California, call today.

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