The impact of MR imaging in sports medicine

Radiology. 2002 Sep;224(3):631-5. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2243012180.


Sports medicine is one of the most rapidly growing subspecialties in orthopedics. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in sports medicine includes depiction of normal anatomy and pathologic conditions in almost every joint in the body, but the MR examinations most frequently requested are of the knee and shoulder. The reported high accuracy of MR imaging in the knee has resulted in MR imaging being preferred to diagnostic arthroscopy by most leading orthopedic surgeons. MR imaging is particularly helpful for sports medicine surgeons in evaluating menisci to determine if they are repairable, in posterolateral corner syndrome, and in evaluating the hyaline articular cartilage. In evaluating the shoulder, MR arthrography is becoming the preoperative imaging procedure of choice for many sports medicine surgeons. Shoulder MR imaging is particularly important in helping identify abnormalities that may mimic rotator cuff or labral abnormalities at clinical examination, thus preventing unnecessary surgery in some patients. These abnormalities include Parsonage-Turner syndrome and quadrilateral space syndrome, each of which has a distinctive MR imaging appearance. As the field of sports medicine expands, radiologists will continue to see increased requests for MR imaging, because sports medicine and high-quality imaging are inextricably linked.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / diagnosis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Shoulder Injuries