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What is a knee MRI scan?

A knee MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a procedure that creates pictures of the internal structures of the knee joint by using a powerful magnet, radio waves and a computer. A radiologist can then examine the pictures and use them in evaluating and diagnosing problems in the knee joint. Your doctor may order an MRI of your knee if you have any of the following symptoms:
  • an abnormal result on a knee x-ray or bone scan
  • knee weakness or instability
  • buildup of fluid in or behind the knee joint
  • signs of infection in the knee (pain, swelling, fever)
  • an injury to your knee cap
  • difficulty walking or moving because of knee locking
  • damage to the muscle, cartilage or ligaments of the knee
  • knee pain that does not get better with treatment
Your doctor may also order an MRI of your knee to determine if you should have knee surgery, or to monitor your progress after knee surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.