Knee CT scan

Knee CT Scan: Preparation, Procedure, Types, Risks, and More

A CT scan of the knee, also known as a computed tomography (CT) scan, is a painless imaging test used to diagnose medical conditions that affect the structures of the knee joint. The chest scan produces multiple images of the knee that a radiologist or doctor can assemble to create a three-dimensional image of the structure and tissues within the joint. A doctor might use a CT scan of the knee to diagnose bone fractures, joint damage, and other conditions.

When To Get A Knee CT Scan

A doctor might recommend a CT scan of the knee for several reasons, such as:

  • Diagnosing injuries, fractures, and abnormalities of the bone structure in the knee
  • Diagnosing and assessing damage to the joint, muscles, and tendons
  • Assessing the severity of existing medical conditions, such as medical problems caused by long-term wear and tear on the joint
  • Confirming suspected physical and radiological abnormalities of the knee

Types of Knee CT Scan

Depending on the condition, a doctor may order one of the following types of knee CT scans:

  • Single-slice CT scan, which captures only one image or slice of the knee joint
  • Multi-slice scanner, which takes multiple images in the same sitting
  • CT angiography scan, which captures images of the blood vessels
  • 3D rendered CT scan, which produces an image of the entire knee joint

Preparing For A CT Scan Of The Knee

Prior to a CT scan of the knee, you might be asked to:

  • Provide a medical history and list of current medications
  • Remove any jewelry, clothing or other metal objects that may interfere with imaging
  • Drink contrast material to help enhance the images
  • Obtain written consent for the CT scan

CT Scan Procedure

During the scan, a technician will position your leg so that the knee joint is centered within the CT machine. The technician will then move the scanning machine around your leg as required. The technician will also use a thin rod to hold your knee in place, and they might need to inject contrast material into your veins to provide a clearer image.

Risks And Benefits Of Knee CT Scan

  • Benefits: CT scans provide an accurate diagnosis of bone and joint abnormalities and can reduce the need for exploratory surgery.
  • Risks: CT scans can expose patients to excessive radiation and may cause allergic reactions to contrast materials.

Knee CT Scan Results

CT scan images are sent to a radiologist to interpret and assess the condition of tissues and bone structures in the knee joint. Depending on the condition, a doctor might recommend further testing or treatment, or refer you to an orthopedic specialist for further evaluation.