, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 409-418,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 16 Sep 2008

Costs and effectiveness of a brief MRI examination of patients with acute knee injury


The aim of this study was to assess the costs and effectiveness of selective short magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with acute knee injury. A model was developed to evaluate the selective use of MRI in patients with acute knee injury and no fracture on radiography based on the results of a trial in which 208 patients were randomized between radiography only and radiography plus MRI. We analyzed medical (diagnostic and therapeutic) costs, quality of life, duration of diagnostic workup, number of additional diagnostic examinations, time absent from work, and time to convalescence during a 6-month follow-up period. Quality of life was lowest (EuroQol at 6 weeks 0.61 (95% CI 0.54–0.67)); duration of diagnostic workup, absence from work, and time to convalescence were longest; and the number of diagnostic examinations was largest with radiography only. These outcomes were more favorable for both MRI strategies (EuroQol at 6 weeks 0.72 (95% CI 0.67–0.77) for both). Mean total costs were 2,593 euros (95% CI 1,815–3,372) with radiography only, 2,116 euros (95% CI 1,488–2,743) with radiography plus MRI, and 1,973 euros (95% CI 1,401–2,543) with selective MRI. The results suggest that selective use of a short MRI examination saves costs and potentially increases effectiveness in patients with acute knee injury without a fracture on radiography.

This study was supported in part by the Revolving Fund from the Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam and by an unrestricted grant from Esaote S.p.A., Genoa, Italy.