Most knee injuries can be diagnosed by Dr. Lowe utilizing the history and symptoms of the injury, plain film x-rays along with the physical examination.  He will ask you many questions regarding your injury such as what were you doing when the injury occurred, what you felt, as well as any other symptoms you are having.  He will then perform several tests to check the integrity of the ligaments and other structures of the knee including range of motion and muscular strength.

In most cases, Dr. Lowe will order a Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan (MRI).  This is done to assess structures that do not show up on x-ray or that may be questionable upon physical exam.  The results of this test may change how he develop your treatment plan.  Treatment options may include: bracing, physical therapy, and possibly surgical intervention.  The MRI last around an hour, dependent upon the body part and structures that are being examined.  Many places can perform an MRI; however, Dr. Lowe is very particular in the types of magnets that are used along with the correct image sequences taken.  The better the MRI, the better and more accurate the diagnosis can be made.

 Good ACL

Absent ACL

Figure 1

Figure 2

In figure #1 if you look just above the arrow, you will see a band of black tissue that is running from 7:00 to 1:00.  This is a good ACL.  In figure #2, if you will look above the arrow, you will see that the ACL is absent.