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Six rules for appropriate investigations

Practitioner Information

  1. Order an Xray
    You will never be criticised for ordering an X-ray. They show us a lot of information: an X-ray is a better test than MRI for looking for arthritis, for example.

  2. Make it the right one, and make it a good one
    Ensure that it is correct and of decent quality - patients frequently need repeat x-rays and they are rarely impressed!
    • Knee: Knee AP WB, lat, patella (WB = weight bearing). Make sure you stipulate patella, because otherwise it will not be done. Many people have patella pain so this one is important.
    • Hip: AP pelvis, AP/lat hip.

  3. Know when to order an MRI
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging is useful in both hips and knees, looking for soft tissue disorders. MRI scans are of little use in arthritis, including meniscal tears, labral tears and chondral injuries.

    Not everyone undergoing surgery needs to have an MRI. Although they are almost becoming expected, they can delay surgery and are very expensive.

  4. Bone scans can help to localise pain
    They are usually ordered by a surgeon

  5. CT scans are helpful in trauma and special circumstances only
    Computerised Tomography scans are usually ordered by a surgeon.

  6. There is limited use for ultrasound
    Ultrasounds cost patients time and money and are frequently of little utility.


02 9735 3637
02 9735 3635

Hip & Knee Clinic
Retail 4/8 Australia Ave
Sydney Olympic Park
Homebush Bay NSW 2127
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