Knee series

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 19 Sep 2021

The knee series is a set of radiographs taken to investigate knee joint pathology, often in the context of trauma. It usually comprises an AP and lateral projection, although other non-standard, modified projections can be used for specific indications.

See also knee radiograph (an approach).


Knee radiographs are indicated for a variety of settings including 1,2:


Standard projections
  • AP view
    • demonstrates the distal femur, proximal tibia/fibula and the patella in the AP position
    • ideal projection to assess the tibial plateau and tibiofemoral alignment  
  • horizontal beam lateral view
    • orthogonal projection to the AP, routinely done in trauma horizontal beam to better demonstrate any joint effusions
    • ideal projection to assess lipohemarthrosis
    • used to examine the location of the patella and the patency of the patella tendon
Additional projections
  • rolled lateral view
    • often performed on bed-bound patients with suspected arthritis
    • orthogonal view of the AP projection
    • demonstrate the joint space, yet sacrifices any assessment of fluid levels
  • skyline (Merchant view)
    • superior-inferior projection of the patella; this is an ideal projection for patients that are better suited in the supine position
  • skyline (Laurine view)
    • inferior-superior projection of the patella; this projection is best suited to patients able to maintain a semi-recumbent position on the examination table
  • knee AP weight-bearing view
    • often used in the context of orthopedic appointments to obtain images of the knees in their natural anatomical position
  • knee intercondylar view
    • view utilized to demonstrate intercondylar space, often used for OA and suspected tibial plateau fractures 
  • Rosenberg's view
    • weight-bearing projection used to assess joint space-related pathology such as osteoarthritis 
  • oblique view
    • two views (internal and external) better demonstrating the knee joint in the absence of CT 

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: knee series (trauma)
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Figure 2: knee series (routine)
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Figure 3: knee series (osteoarthritis)
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.