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Knee MRI: How to Prepare and What to Expect

Blue Ridge Region / 19 Dec 2022

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by EmergeOrtho
Knee MRI: How to Prepare and What to Expect

If you are having problems with your knee, our physicians may order a knee MRI to help diagnose or evaluate any pain, weakness, swelling, or bleeding in and around the joint. An MRI—short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging—is an advanced, commonly used diagnostic imaging test that a physician may order to detect abnormalities that might exist in the musculoskeletal system.

The test is a safe, noninvasive, painless test that uses radiofrequency waves and a strong magnet to create high-resolution pictures of the inside of your body. Images are clearly displayed on a computer screen. Because an MRI uses a magnet, there is no exposure to radiation (as is the case with other diagnostic tools such as a CT scan)—so the test is very safe.

At EmergeOrtho, our state-of-the-art MRI scanners are in-house, so we can provide accurate, quick diagnostics whenever possible and begin treatment to get you back to your activities in a timely manner. Our MRI services have received accreditation from the American College of Radiology, which is recognized as the gold standard in medical imaging.

When is an MRI of the Knee Done?

According to the Radiological Society of North America, an MRI is commonly ordered to help orthopedic doctors diagnose and treat a number of knee conditions. These include:

  • Knee pain, weakness, swelling, or bleeding in the joint tissues
  • Damaged cartilage, meniscus, ligaments, or tendons
  • Sprains
  • Torn ligaments, cartilage, or tendons
  • Bone fractures that may not be visible on X-rays and other imaging tests
  • Damage from arthritis
  • Buildup of fluid in the knee joint
  • Infections
  • Tumors involving bones and joints
  • Dead bone
  • A feeling that your knee is giving away at the joint
  • Decreased motion of the knee
  • Kneecap injury or pain
  • Complications related to implanted surgical devices
  • Pain or trauma following knee surgery

A knee MRI can also be done in conjunction with an X-ray and CT scan for further detail of an injury or condition.

An MRI technologist gets a patient ready for a knee MRI scan.

How Do I Prepare for an MRI of My Knee?

There is very little preparation needed for a knee MRI. There are a few things though you may want to share with the doctor before your scan:

  • List any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements.
  • Mention any known allergies or an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • Inform them if you have any implanted medical devices.
  • Let them know if you are pregnant, concerned you may be pregnant, or breastfeeding.

In addition, doctors recommend you wear comfortable clothes—preferably cotton, and leave your jewelry and valuables at home. You may be asked to wear a gown.

What Should I Expect During My Knee MRI?

The whole scanning process can take approximately 30-60 minutes. Here is how the knee-scanning process goes:

  1. You will be required to lie down on the scanning table, feet first.
  2. You will be given earplugs/headphones to protect your hearing from the noises of the scanner.
  3. Your knee will be placed into a device to obtain optimal images.
  4. The scanning table will slide your body into the tube-shaped scanner feet first.
  5. During the scan, you will not feel anything.
  6. You will hear loud intermittent humming, clicking, and knocking sounds.
  7. You will be asked to stay very still during the scan to optimize the image quality.
  8. The technologists will be able to see and hear you at all times during the scan if you need to communicate with them via an intercom system that is within the scan room.

At EmergeOrtho, we understand that getting a quick and accurate diagnosis for your knee issue is essential to the success of your treatments. Having the advanced diagnostic facilities on our premises enables our board-certified physicians to help you quickly receive treatment and return to your active life.

If you are experiencing pain or issues with your knee, you should consult with an orthopedic expert to start on your path to recovery. Schedule your appointment here.

A New Level Of Orthopedic Care Has Emerged

EmergeOrtho-Blue Ridge Region patients benefit from a full range of orthopedic services, including diagnostics, imaging, treatment, physical and occupational therapy, and pain management. From conservative care to surgical interventions, our team of specialists provides expert care and real results. Self-schedule or request your appointment today.