5 doctors weighed in:

Can you tell buy an X-ray alone if you have a torn meniscus in your knee?

5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jack Farr
Orthopedic Surgery
2 doctors agree

In brief: No

The meniscus is a "soft tissue" and as other soft tissues of the knee, x-rays go through them easily, so they are either not visible or only faintly visible on x-ray.
In the case of the mensicus, they are not visualized unless they have calcium deposits and then there are only faint outlines. Thus it is not possible to detect a torn meniscus with a plain x-rays.

In brief: No

The meniscus is a "soft tissue" and as other soft tissues of the knee, x-rays go through them easily, so they are either not visible or only faintly visible on x-ray.
In the case of the mensicus, they are not visualized unless they have calcium deposits and then there are only faint outlines. Thus it is not possible to detect a torn meniscus with a plain x-rays.
Dr. Jack Farr
Dr. Jack Farr
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Dr. John Fung
Surgery
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Not a good test

Meniscal tears are among the most common knee injuries.
The nature of complaints, with confirming physical exam by the physician are useful in making a diagnosis. Plain knee x-rays are best for bony abnormalities and do not show soft tissue injuries like meniscal tears. The standard imaging is magnetic resonance imaging, which can create better images of the soft tissues of your knee joint.

In brief: Not a good test

Meniscal tears are among the most common knee injuries.
The nature of complaints, with confirming physical exam by the physician are useful in making a diagnosis. Plain knee x-rays are best for bony abnormalities and do not show soft tissue injuries like meniscal tears. The standard imaging is magnetic resonance imaging, which can create better images of the soft tissues of your knee joint.
Dr. John Fung
Dr. John Fung
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