MRI Scanning and Knee Pain Diagnosis

Orthopaedic & Spine Center

Dr Robert J Snyder MD of Orthopaedic & Spine Center Outlines the Use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technology for Diagnosing Knee Problems

In my previous posts, I have discussed knee pain, what conditions or injuries cause it, at home treatments for knee pain and what steps I take to treat knee pain conservatively.  In this post, I will detail what happens when a person needs arthroscopic knee surgery.

I usually have my patients try conservative treatment modalities first, for several weeks.  I then have them come back to my office for a follow-up visit in 3-4 weeks. If, at that time, they have not improved, I may order an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the knee, to better understand if there is problem that did not show up on the x-ray images.  MRI helps me to see what injury or condition may be affecting the soft tissues of the knee, such as those affecting ligaments, menisci and tendons.

knee care specialists dr robert j snyder md of osc

OSC Knee Specialist and Orthopedic Surgeon Dr Robert J Snyder MD

After completing all of these steps, I may find that immediate surgical intervention is necessary in order to fix the problem, restore function and to provide the best chance for a full recovery.  Most, if not all of these surgeries will be performed arthroscopically for issues that do not respond well to ordinary, non-surgical treatments.

Types of problems that I would suggest urgent surgery for would be:

  • a locked knee from a displaced meniscal tear
  • infection
  • some acute ACL tears in active patients (who desire to return to a high level of function
  • some acute ligament tears (that have been shown to not adequately heal with non-operative treatment)

Arthroscopic knee surgery is almost always done as an outpatient procedure, unless the patient has other medical conditions that may predicate their being admitted to the hospital for post-surgical monitoring for a longer period.

In my next post, I will walk you through an actual knee arthroscopic procedure and detail what happens to the patient.

Robert J. Snyder is an Orthopaedic Surgeon who specializes in the treatment of knees, hips and shoulders.  A graduate of and former Chief-of-Surgery at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Dr. Snyder’s specialty focus is Total Joint Replacement and the treatment of Sport Injuries

Dr. Snyder currently practices at Orthopaedic & Spine Center in Newport News, Virginia.. 

For more information about Dr. Robert J Snyder MD or OSC, please call 757-596-1900 or go to