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BACKGROUND: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the most widely used investigations for knee pain as it provides detailed assessment of the bone and soft tissues. The aim of this study is to report the frequency of each diagnosis identified on MRI scans of the knee and explore the relationship between MRI results and onward treatment. METHODS: Consecutive MRI reports from a large NHS trust performed in 2017 were included in this study. The hospital electronic system was consulted to identify whether a patient underwent x-ray prior to the MRI, attended an outpatient appointment or underwent surgery. RESULTS: 4466 MRI knees were performed in 2017 with 71.2% requested in primary care and 28.1% requested in secondary care. The most common diagnosis was signs of arthritis (55.2%), followed by meniscal tears (42.8%) and ACL tears (8.3%). 49.4% of patients who had an MRI attended outpatients and 15.6% underwent surgery. The rate of knee surgery was significantly higher for patients who had their scans requested in secondary care (32.9% vs 8.9%, p 

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





557 - 563


Arthroscopy, Knee pathologies, Magnetic resonance imaging, Meniscal tear, Adult, Aged, Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries, Arthritis, Female, Humans, Knee, Knee Injuries, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Retrospective Studies, State Medicine, United Kingdom