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Knee Pain Health Center

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Bush to Get MRI of Knees

President Complaining of Pain in Right Knee; MRI Ideal Way to Check for Damage

WebMD Health News

Dec. 17, 2003 -- President Bush will undergo an MRI on both of his knees Thursday while visiting wounded troops at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

Bush, an avid jogger, has taken to using an elliptical trainer and water jogging because of occasional pain in his right knee when he runs, McClellan said during a news conference held aboard Air Force One en route to North Carolina for the First Flight Centennial Celebration.

Past physicals have indicated that Bush, 57, shows the "wear and tear of someone who's active and someone of his age," said McClellan. The magnetic resonance imaging will be done to see if there is potential damage to one or both knees.

MRI Explained

Magnetic resonance imaging is a test that uses a magnetic filed and pulses of radio wave energy to create detailed pictures of internal organs. An MRI is more detailed than an X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan and can therefore provide more information.

For an MRI, the area of the body being studied is positioned inside a strong magnetic field. This type of scan is most useful for detecting inflammation, infection, tumors, and injury.

An MRI of the knee is done to:

  • Evaluate knee pain
  • Help detect certain problems in a knee's bones, joints, and soft tissues (such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons). An MRI can help diagnose arthritis, bone tumors, meniscus or cartilage tears, worn-out cartilage, torn ligaments, or infection.
  • Help determine whether knee arthroscopy is necessary

Bush will not need to be sedated for the test, which should take no more than an hour.

Dye, if needed, may be injected into the knee joint to enhance the image. To reduce discomfort, local anesthetic may be injected into the joint before the dye. Then additional MRI images are taken.

Bush will meet with his doctors after the results are analyzed to determine what can be done, McClellan said, and he wouldn't comment on any potential treatments.

"Let's let the MRI take place," he said.

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