What is the role of MRI in the assessment of tibial plateau fractures?

Updated: Apr 20, 2020
  • Author: Srinivasa Vidyadhara, MBBS, DNB, MS(Orth), DNB(Orth), FNB(SpineSurg), MNAMS; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is acknowledged as a reliable and accurate tool for assessing meniscal, collateral, and cruciate ligamentous injury, [12] as well as for identifying occult fractures of the tibial plateau.

A bone bruise is indicated by epiphyseal and metaphyseal changes in T1- and T2-weighted images. The signals indicate normal articular and cortical bone changes and reflect changes in bone marrow. They are thought to represent edema, hyperemia, hemorrhage, and microfracture. Plateau fractures may be visualized on MRIs, even when plain film radiographs are normal.

A major advantage that MRI has over CT is that MRI does not use ionizing radiation. Disadvantages include the higher cost and greater time needed to complete the study (25 minutes for MRI vs 20 seconds for CT), which means that motion artifact can be a problem.

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