Could an MRI be wrong in reading an ACL tear???

(Owensboro, KY)

My daughter had patella re-alingment year and now has a screw in her leg right below the knee. She slipped on ice last week and heard a loud "pop". Her knee swelled, more so even a couple of days later. We went to the ortho and upon examination he said he was positive she tore her ACL, that her knee didn't catch like the other knee did and the other symptoms matched as well. He ordered an MRI. I got the MRI report back and it does not show a torn ACL. Could an MRI be wrong??

Thank you.

Comments for Could an MRI be wrong in reading an ACL tear???

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

May 03, 2016
Acl tear? NEW
by: Leanne

I was doing a simple lunge at the gym last Wednesday, when my right knee gave out and Made a very loud snapping noise and I'm still unable to bear weight. I'm in A fixed Locked brace. My Ortho drained a full syringe of blood off the knee and did an Mri. The results came in today which showed my acl as being ok and the Pcl w a partial tear and that the knee just dislocated. Recommends brace for next two wks and follow up to discuss options. My left knee would disks the daily and i had a mpfl construction done 2 yrs ago. W that knee I never heard that snapping sound when it would dislocate and never had this blood swelling and unstable feeling. Could the mri b wrong and there actually be a acl tear. Do I request a sooner appt or second opinion??

Dec 28, 2015
mri scans NEW
by: brian

how is it possible for 2 orthopaedic surgeons working from the same hospital to say that 2 mri scans were unreliable without them conspiring together to say my cuff was intact when it clearly wasnt, as the 2 mri scans were proved 100%accurate.
What do you think bart.

Dec 27, 2015
flase mri NEW
by: Anonymous

I also had a knee surgery due to an MRi that stated tear in meniscus..and no tear was found during surgery. I recently went to an osteopath to consult for prolotherapy..and he did and ultrasound in the room on my knee and found abnormalities in mensisuc and said the surgeon cn not see tears if they have occurred within the meniscus, but the outside of meniscus is intact? Is this correct? debating if I should have the prolo. I have had ongoing knee pain for 10 years after my surgery to "repair a torn meniscus" and a lateral realease for por patellar much quad atrophy and loss of ROM. afraid of another procedure though. anyone have success with prolo?
Thank you!

May 19, 2015
mri scans wrong NEW
by: brian

is it possible for 2 mri scans to be so wrong. i had a mri scan that i had a 7mm by4mm full thicknesss tear in my rotator cuff. Surgeon did operation to fix the rotator cuff tears but found no tears present. my health didnt improve so i obtained another mri scan which also indicated rotator cuff tears.Has the surgeon botched the operation

Dec 29, 2012
Can MRI's be wrong NEW
by: Sandra

my daughter recently injured herself at gymnastics, she missed her landing on the vault, her knee swelled up a tremendous amount, and she experienced a great deal of pain, and locking in the knee. She was sent for an xray and ultrasound, the xray was clear, but the ultrasound showed a torn meniscus. she was then sent for a MRI, which said clear, there was nothing wrong, how is that possible, when she walks it pulls at the back of her knee, she still has quite a bit of pain and discomfort, it locks several times a day, like it's catching on something, very swollen. She basically has no Left. knee cap. We are scheduled to see the Orthapedic Surgeon on Jan/7th. any insight?

Mar 27, 2012
by: Anonymous

I recently had an MRI done that indicated i Had three tears in my meniscus. Was referred to an Ortho- she had me do all kimds of squats,which I could do with no problem. I am 61 and she is in her late 30s and could not do squats like i did. She said the MRI shows significant damage to meniscus, and asked how can you walk with small heels

Dec 10, 2011
Surgery or Wait and see? NEW
by: Rob

my first year of BJJ and i popped my r-knee while controlling an opponent during live action. I talked to my sports surgeon and he read the MRI as a torn acl w/swelling after two months. i saw the MRI and couldnt see this tear. He advised me to strengthen the muscles around it and i might be able to avoid surgery. Compared to my opposite knee , Surgery will only stabalize my injured knee one milimeter more. hardly a difference , but instability and the thought of further damaging it concerns me greatly.

I havent been training since i cant fully bend my knee rearwards/behind me without pain. So some positions would be hard to get into at the Academy. i cant tell until this pain subsides, and it (probably will in a few months)what my limitations will be strengthwise without the surgery, I have some instability and it catches and it pops. My question is this: Does anyone think i can still maintain full strength/motion while grappling and avoid surgery ? lets face it i am not playing soccer or cutting up field with a football. its grappling.

Jan 17, 2011
MRI showed torn meniscus-Arthroscopy showed none
by: Anonymous

My mom was told last year by physical exam and MRI that she had a torn meniscus and some arthritis. She underwent surgery this past week and was told that she did not have a tear at all. He said he clean the arthritis up. I am wondering how this could happen? My mom underwent anesthesia with risks being a diabetic. How could the radiologist see a tear if there in fact wasn't one? I'm confused about this and frustrated that my mom had to have surgery for nothing!!!! Please give me any information anyone may have.

Thank you:)

Dec 01, 2010
mri & knee injuries
by: Anonymous

My rt knee was injured in mva. Original dx was severe patellar contusion (deep tissue brising). I had been in good shape, and NEVER had a knee injury b4. Now it almost been 2 years and I still have pain, instability, poor tracking, and weakness (also cant bend my knee back or kneel on it). Still has swelling. I can work if I wrap it and ice it later. Already went thru PT and also tried injections. Nothing has helped but my current Ortho (#3) said the MRI shows nothing wrong and to get checked for RA. Excuse me, but these symptoms aren't "normal" to me, and, in fact, show that there is something still wrong! He refuses surgery saying the risk isn't worth the benefit. Anyone else been so frustrated?

Oct 24, 2010
by: Anonymous

I hav an acl and mcl tear doctor diagnosed me and compared wid my left knee and said its a ligament injury,x-ray also hav done and no bone fracture i m in bed rest for 6 weeks doctor said it may be healed with doing an exercise if it may nt then go for surgery! Hey anybody is there same like me plz tel there view.

Sep 26, 2010
by: Eva

I heard the pop, and swelled up the next day... then started physio. Orthopedic surgeon did clinical evaluation and said I had a complete ACL tear and booked me for surgery. My MRI also showed a complete tear. HOWEVER, my symptoms never matched up with the injury. It is now 4 months after my injury and I have complete range of motion and NO pain, and NO instability. (I have been warned of the increased risk of osteoarthritis in the future.) Should I have what seems to me as an unnecessary surgery???
Maybe my MRI wasn't read correctly?

Mar 01, 2010
Yes MRI can be wrong or not tell the whole story
by: Anonymous

There is a part of the knee that the MRI might not "See"

my MRI was very "iffy" after my incident

heard the pop leg gave put 3 different times

3 doctors said they couldnt tell from the MRI
no one doubted me, they just couldnt tell

I went to fouth dr ( who was recommneded by one of my docs) and was on the table the next week

am in recovery now, working hard and I already feel better
that doesnt mean I am cured as only time will tell but I know it needed the surgery and am thankful that the doctors were honest when they couldnt tell

is she heard the pop and all the other symptoms are there do what you know is the right thing to do

good luck

Feb 19, 2010
Best Wishes
by: Denise

I wish your daughter all the best for her upcoming surgery and subsequent physiotherapy / rehab. I had a left knee ACL reconstruction last year, and I'm doing much better now. The knee isn't what it used to be, but it's stable and usually pain free.

Feb 16, 2010
MRI re-read
by: K smith

Another radiologist and the ortho surgeon read the MRI and there is a small tear in one of the two bundles of ACL and has damage to meniscus. She has surgery on March 01.

Feb 12, 2010
The interpretation could be wrong
by: Catherine

My MRI report said that my ACL appeared to be intact, but there was a lot of swelling and bone marrow in the knee so the view of the ACL was very cloudy. My surgeon was convinced the report was incorrect and when he operated found that that the ACL was completely ruptured.

Feb 11, 2010
not likely
by: Damian

The MRI Scan can be off a little bit but that usually happens if there is alot of swelling in the knee and they cannot get the full picture.

These days the MRI are mostly accurate especially with complete tear. They always go in during the surgery and check if anything else is not right, so either way the main question is isf it requires surgery.

I had 2 R ACL Recons. and 1 Meniscus removal...

any questions email me at

Feb 11, 2010
mri accuracy
by: Bart - SII

An MRI is not completely accurate. I have had several patients who have had clinical exams that indicated ACL tears (ligament tests indicated more movement in the knee than the uninjured side) but the MRI showed no tear. I have also had patients who had an MRI that showed an ACL tear that ended up not having a tear when the surgeon got inside the knee during surgery and the ligament was intact.

It is possible for the MRI to show the ACL intact, but to have an ACL tear. The MRI relies on tissues within the joint, and it is possible to have an ACL tear that renders the knee unstable to clinical tests, but to have enough tissue remaining to indicate no tear on the MRI.


Click here to add your own comments

Return to ACL Surgery Stories.