The advent of MRI heralded a new era in musculoskeletal imaging and sounded the end of the routine use of invasive imaging tests, such as arthrography. Non invasive MRI is now the routine modality of choice in investigating most joints.
Specifically in relation to the knee, MRI has the ability to visualise normal and pathological conditions of menisci, ligaments, joint capsule, tendons, cartilage, subchondral bone marrow oedema and intra-articular bodies.
One of the most common clinical scenarios in the clinical and imaging assessment of knee trauma is the integrity of the meniscus and whether a tear is present that may warrant arthroscopic debridement.
Other important consequences of trauma includes instability, with the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) the most important stabiliser. The ACL is typically completely torn when injured and often occurs in conjunction with other ligament injuries, as well as meniscal tears and chondral defects. An isolated tear of the ACL is often a straightforward clinical diagnosis, however with concomitant injury of other structures, pain inhibition frequently precludes an adequate clinical examination, in which case either MRI and/or arthroscopic assessment are required.