MRI scans are often ordered to help doctors make a diagnosis of various organs and tissues of the body. These scans are often used as a diagnostic tool to help physicians determine the severity of injuries to the bones and joints. From an orthopedic standpoint, your specialist may order an MRI if you have experienced an injury or are having aches and pains throughout your skeletal system. This test can be used to evaluate joint disorders caused by traumatic injury, repetitive stress, or arthritis. A scan can also help diagnose disk abnormalities of the spine, bone infection, and tumors of the bones and surrounding soft tissues. |
There are few risks associated with having an MRI. However, it is important that you let your doctor know if you are pregnant because there is limited research regarding the effects of this scan on a pregnancy. It is also important to note that this test uses magnets, so if you have any type of metal implant in your body, you will need to let your doctor know. If you have a history of liver or kidney issues, you should also inform your physician.
What to Expect
Preparation for magnetic resonance imaging is very minimal. You may continue your regular diet and take your normal medications unless you are instructed otherwise. You will likely be asked to change into a hospital gown (unless you have no metal on) and to remove any jewelry. To make preparations for your test easier, you may want to consider leaving jewelry and watches at home. You are also going to be asked to remove any dentures, underwire bras, wigs, and hearing aids you may have with you.
When it is time for your test, a technologist will lead you into the room where the MRI machine is located. You will be asked to lay on the bed, though your position will vary based on the part of your body that is being examined. You will need to remain still to allow the bed to move into the machine. The machine does not touch you, but it can be very loud; often, you will be provided with earplugs or headphones. If small spaces cause you to panic, your doctor may order a sedative to help you relax and remain still during the exam.
If a contrast material is ordered, an IV will be inserted prior to the exam, and the contrast material will be injected into your IV. The contrast material is a compound that allows doctors and technologists to better visualize the muscles, bones, and joints that are being examined, and the compound can be administered orally or by injection. You can expect your test to last for up to one hour.
The results are normally available within a couple of days. Your results can help your physician determine the best course of treatment for your injury or pain.
For residents of NJ, MRI information can be found by visiting http://hunterdonradiology.com/drupal/mri-wide_bore_magnet.
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