Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff
  • X-rays. X-rays can show abnormalities in the joint's bones. Your doctor may recommend that both joints be X-rayed (both the right and left knee, for example) to compare them.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Utilizing radio waves and a strong magnetic field, MRIs can provide detailed images of both hard and soft tissues. Doctors frequently use MRI to help decide whether healing will occur with conservative treatment or whether surgery is necessary. Because MRI can produce detailed images without radiation exposure, it's the preferred test for osteochondritis dissecans.
  • Computerized tomography (CT). This technique combines X-ray images taken from many different angles to produce cross-sectional images of internal structures. CT scans can visualize cartilage as well as bone. This is useful in pinpointing the location of loose fragments within the joint.
Sept. 21, 2012