Going for an MRI for the first time can be daunting. The thought of lying inside a narrow tunnel can be scary for many people. But in reality, it is not as terrifying as you imagine. It is a diagnostic scan that uses a sophisticated machine to help doctors make accurate clinical diagnoses.
MRI or magnetic resonance imaging is a standard diagnostic procedure that generates detailed images of the soft tissues using powerful radio waves, magnetic fields, and the computer.
The chances of an orthopedic doctor requesting an MRI scan for fractures, joint pain, sports injury are common. It helps the doctor make a precise diagnosis and plan the appropriate line of treatment based on it.
Dr. Sandeep Singh, a leading orthopedic doctor in Bhubaneswar, says, “MRI scan is a reliable non-invasive exam that allows us to see the bones, ligaments, cartilage, muscles, tendons and blood vessels, unlike the CT scan and X-rays that take only images of the bones.”
He routinely asks his patients to undergo an MRI scan, as it assists him in effectively and quickly identifying the cause of the pain and treating it accordingly.
You can visit Dr. Sandeep Singh, a well-known orthopedist in Bhubaneswar, for joint replacement, sports injuries, fractures, knee replacement, etc.
Further, MRI can correctly detect soft tissue inflammation, fluid build-up inside and outside the joint, and swelling within the bone due to stress fracture or bone bruise. It also detects loose bits of bone or cartilage within the joint. And there is no fear of radiation in an MRI.
It often spots unexpected and vital findings that can change the treatment plan. According to Dr. Sandeep Singh, an experienced ortho doctor in Bhubaneswar, MRI scans are a crucial part of the diagnosis for an orthopedic surgeon as it assists them in determining if surgery is needed or monitoring the result after the procedure.
What can an MRI scan diagnose?
An orthopedic surgeon uses an MRI scan to assess the following:
- Spinal stenosis
- Torn tendons and ligaments
- Images of the joints and bones
- Degenerative joint disorders
- Joint abnormalities due to injury
- Tumors of the joints and bones
- Causes of unexplained pain or decreased motion
- Spinal disc herniation
- Inflammation and bleeding in and around the joints
Now that you know the importance of an MRI scan let's discuss things you need to be aware of before undergoing an MRI, especially if it is your first time.
No jewelry or metals are allowed
The attendant will ask you to remove all the metal items you have on yourself, including watches, belts with metal buckles, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aid, etc. Let the doctor know if you have a metal implant or a pacemaker.
This can impact the procedure as the MRI machine is magnetic, and it will pull the metals objects towards the magnet.
Remove all your makeup
To be on the safer side, it is recommended to avoid any makeup when going for an MRI. Some cosmetics contain metals that can interfere with the powerful magnets of the MRI machine.
So, apart from makeup, stay away from nail paints, hair products, sunscreen, and antiperspirants before your MRI.
If you are anxious or worried about the procedure, you may feel claustrophobic inside the MRI machine. It helps if you shut your eyes before entering it and let it remain close throughout the examination.
Otherwise, you can ask your doctor for an anti-anxiety medication, which you can have before your MRI.
Inform about your tattoos
If you have any tattoos, let the doctor know. When the tattoo ink heats up during MRI, it can cause eye and skin irritation and sometimes first-degree burns. If you experience any burning or skin irritation, you should inform immediately to stop the MRI scan to avoid injury.
Be prepared to hear loud banging and clanking sounds during your MRI scan. It's nothing to worry about. It is just the machine doing its job. However, if it makes you anxious, you can ask for sedation or otherwise listen to music using headphones and keep yourself distracted.
It takes time
An MRI examination will last for at least 30 minutes, during which images are taken in series. You will have to lie still while the pictures are taken. Otherwise, they will come blurred. It is a long process, so you should visit the bathroom before it begins.
Let the doctor know if you are pregnant
You should inform your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant. Although there is no evidence that MRI is harmful to a fetus, it is advisable that MRI scanning be avoided during the first trimester.
Let the doctor know if you are allergic
Sometimes, a contrast dye is used during an MRI to view the internal organs and blood vessels better. However, there is a risk of allergic reaction due to the contrast dye.
So, it would help if you discussed it with your doctor about it before the test. Let them know if you have asthma, kidney disease, low blood pressure, sickle cell disease, anemia, and allergies.
MRI scan is a safe diagnostic exam that needs no special care after it. It is essential imaging diagnostic for orthopedic surgeons to help them accurately diagnose and treat patients.
If you have any issues related to your bones, joints, or muscles, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Sandeep Singh, an expert orthopedic doctor in Bhubaneswar.