Lateral Collateral Knee Ligament Injury Workup

Updated: Nov 30, 2020
  • Author: Sherwin SW Ho, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Imaging Studies and Other Tests

Imaging studies

Radiography of the knee should always be the initial imaging modality. Three views of the knee consisting of anteroposterior (weight-bearing if patient is able to tolerate), lateral, and Merchant views are obtained. Findings include varus malalignment when standing, dislocation, subluxation, fracture, quadriceps tendon disruption, patellar tendon disruption, and arthritis.

MRI is an important diagnostic tool for evaluating the LCL as well as the structures of the posterolateral corner. Cartilage, cruciates, and menisci can also be evaluated with an MRI study.

A study was conducted to describe normative values of the thicknesses of the LCL and popliteus tendon in patients who underwent knee surgery but had no evidence of knee instability. The study concluded that even in patients without varus and posterolateral rotary instability, signal alteration and thickening of the LCL and/or popliteus tendon can be frequently found with MRI. In particular, abnormal MRI findings of the LCL were likely to be more frequent in the patients with more varus knee alignment. [3]

Other tests

In cases of suspected multiligamentous knee injury or knee dislocation, an arteriogram may be necessary to rule out suspected arterial injury.