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Sports Medicine

MRI Right Knee




I am a 40 years old male, I had two arthroscopies on my right knee when I was younger but now I have pain again on my knee. I am going to see an specialist but in a month. These are the results of my MRI. What do you think it is and do you think i will need surgery? Thanks

"There is abnormal signal in posterior horn of medial meniscus. Degenerative signal is seen in the lateral meniscus. However there is no tear.The cruciate and collateral ligaments are normal. There is focal abnormal signal in the lateral femoral articular cartilage suggestive of injury. Degenerative joint changes with chondromalacia patellae along its apex. There is reduced medial compartment joint space. Mild joint effusion with synovial reaction, few hypointensities along it and fluid in the suprapatellar bursa. Small popliteal cyst noted. The midline cystic septated structure anteriorly in the knee joint a is suggestive of synovial cist.


Determining the basis for your knee symptoms depends not only on your knee MRI findings, but also, details from your medical history and physical examination, as well as your response to specific treatment interventions, which may or may not be surgical. MRI scans often reveal "abnormal" findings which may or may not be related to a person's symptoms and on the other hand, the cause for a person's symptoms may not be revealed by an MRI scan.

Your knee MRI scan reveals "tricompartmental" degenerative changes (the knee has 3 compartments: medial, lateral, and patellofemoral), which may or may not be the cause of your symptoms, but which cannot be "corrected" or reversed by arthroscopy.

Since you've already undergone two surgeries on this knee, despite which you are again experiencing knee symptoms, the pros and cons of any further knee surgery need to be discussed with your orthopedist in detail and to the level of your satisfaction.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University