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Knee MRI Scan from £199

MRI scanning of a knee can show detailed images of structures within the knee joint,
including bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscles and blood vessels, from many angles.

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Introduction to Knee Pain and Injuries

Knee pain is a common ailment that can significantly affect mobility and quality of life. The knee is a complex joint that comprises bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, all of which must work in harmony to function properly. Injuries to any of these components can lead to pain and, if untreated, may result in long-term damage. Research indicates that approximately 23% of adults have experienced a knee injury at some point, with a significant number requiring hospitalization due to the severity of the injury.

The Critical Role of MRI in Knee Diagnosis

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an invaluable diagnostic tool for identifying the causes of knee pain. Unlike X-rays, which are best suited for examining bones, MRI provides a detailed view of soft tissues, including ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. This makes it particularly useful for diagnosing a range of conditions from ligament tears to meniscus injuries and other soft tissue damage.

Anatomy of the Knee

Understanding the anatomy of the knee is crucial for diagnosing its problems:

  • Bones: Includes the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), and the patella (kneecap).
  • Ligaments: Key ligaments include the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Medial Cruciate Ligament (MCL), Lateral Cruciate Ligament (LCL), and Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL).
  • Cartilage: Acts as a cushion and includes the menisci and articular cartilage.
  • Tendons: Such as the patellar tendon, crucial for joint movement.

Common Knee Injuries Diagnosed by MRI

  • Ligament Injuries: ACL and MCL tears are common in athletes and can be accurately identified with MRI.
  • Meniscal Tears: Injuries to the knee's cartilage, often caused by twisting the knee while bearing weight.
  • Patellar Issues: Including dislocation or tracking issues of the kneecap.
  • Bone Fractures and Contusions: Detailed images from MRIs can detect even minor bone damage.
  • Degenerative Diseases: Such as osteoarthritis, which can be seen as wearing away of cartilage.

How Does an MRI Work?

An MRI scanner uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the body. During a knee MRI, the patient will lie down with the knee positioned in the scanner. The technology produces images in multiple planes (axial, sagittal, and coronal), allowing doctors to see the knee from different angles. This "slicing" effect helps in examining the structure thoroughly, similar to looking at individual slices of a tomato.

The Importance of Early Diagnosis

Early and accurate diagnosis via MRI allows for timely intervention, which can significantly improve the outcome of knee injuries. MRI not only helps in identifying the injury but also in evaluating its severity, which is crucial in planning effective treatment.

What to Expect During a Knee MRI Scan

  • Duration: A typical scan takes about 10-30 minutes, depending on the specifics required by the radiologist.
  • Preparation: Patients may need to wear a hospital gown and will need to remove any metal objects to prevent interference with the magnetic imaging.
  • During the Scan: It is crucial to remain still to get clear images. The machine might make loud thumping noises, which is normal.

Cost and Accessibility of MRI Scans

In the UK, the cost of an MRI scan varies. While the NHS offers MRI scans, there can be considerable wait times. Private clinics offer faster alternatives, typically allowing for appointments within a few days to two weeks. The price at private centers can range significantly but is often competitive, especially for quicker diagnosis and treatment.

Preparing for Your MRI

  • Medical History: Be sure to inform your technician about any significant medical history or allergies, especially to iodine or gadolinium (contrast agents).
  • Metal in the Body: Important to disclose any implants, as these can affect MRI results or pose safety issues.
  • Clothing: Wear loose-fitting clothing without metal zippers or buttons.


Knee injuries require prompt and precise diagnosis for effective treatment. MRI scans offer a detailed, non-invasive method to diagnose the exact cause of knee pain and guide appropriate treatment plans. If you're experiencing knee pain that interferes with your daily activities, consider discussing with your healthcare provider whether an MRI scan is suitable for you. An early diagnosis can significantly enhance the effectiveness of treatment and help you return to normal activities sooner.

This comprehensive guide aims to equip patients with essential information about the anatomy of the knee, common injuries, and the pivotal role of MRI scans in diagnosing and treating knee conditions, all tailored for a UK audience seeking in-depth healthcare insights.


Our expert clinical team will guide you through the process, with a 1-1 consultation, referral, and digital imaging report included in the price of your scan booking.