MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan
A non-invasive test in which the individual is placed into a scanner that generates a strong magnetic field that is used to generate detailed images of the hip and knee by computer processing. The images show great detail and are useful in looking at cartilage, ligaments, tendons and some bone conditions. It is very useful in helping in the diagnosis of sports injuries.
Some patients feel claustrophobic in conventional scanners, and in these cases we are able to arrange scans in open or upright scanners which are much better tolerated. For further details please see the "useful links" section.
High-frequency sound waves are used to produce pictures of soft tissues (ligaments, muscles, tendons etc) deep inside the body. No radiation is used. The doctor performing the scan sees images in real-time, so movement of tissues and of blood within vessels can be seen.
CT (computerised tomography) scan
Normal "x-rays" use radiation in a single direction to produce an image. In CT scanning scan, the xrays are not just taken in a single direction but in multiple directions as the x-ray beam rotates around the part of the body being scanned. Very detailed cross-sectional pictures are produced. It images bones in a very detailed manner.