General Question

Steve_A's avatar

Can you tell from a CT scan what the amount of damage is to a knee?

Asked by Steve_A (5102 points ) March 1st, 2010

I recently got a CT scan but I do not see the doctor till the 4th, but they gave me the CD with the images and I am very curious as to how serious my knee injury is.

I am looking at it now and I can’t tell a damn thing it looks fine though compared to my non-injured knee and it looks normal to me still not sure why they did not do a MRI instead but anyways.

How good are CT scans for ligaments,tendons and the such?

I could possibly upload a image. Since I probably do not see it since I am not a doctor, but not sure if that is a good idea haha.

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5 Answers

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

MRI’s are much better. When I dislocated my knee, I got two CT scans, but had to eventually go in and get an MRI to examine the full extent of the injury. The doctor will have to decide what can be seen from your CT, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you need an MRI.

Steve_A's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities Yes I agree, I even told the doctor I had previous injury before on the same knee, but yet they still wanted a CT scan.

I get the feeling I will be likely waiting even longer now because they will likely want to do an MRI, wish they would have done it the first time.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

The average person would not generally be able to tell unless it was a case of major trauma. Image interpretation is all about the details, and you need to know what normal variations there are so you can tell whether any differences are the source of your problems or an inconsequential difference.

CT is quite good for ligaments and tendons, but as with everything it depends exactly what the problem is. There are many good resources online to compare the two for you. Doctors often request a CT before an MRI, because although it produces superior images of the soft tissue of the knee, MRI is far more expensive, harder to get appointments for and more time intensive. If your problem can be found on CT, MRI would be a waste of time and money.

DrBill's avatar

Sometimes, depending on the injury. MRI is better since it looks at all angles. The reason for CT scans first is due to cost and fighting with insurance companies.

I always order the MRI and only change to the CT if the Ins Co throws a fit.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@DrBill “MRI is better since it looks at all angles.”

All modern CT scanners have isometric voxels, so coronal and sagittal reconstructions, as well as 3D rendering are just as good as MRI. Both modalities can look at all angles. The difference is whether it is direct acquisition or a reconstruction, but the end product is indistinguishable in that respect.
CT and MRI are ordered for different reasons, because they work on different principles and therefore show different features of the same tissue.

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