Extremity MRIs allow your doctor to isolate certain parts of your body in an MRI without scanning the entire body.
About extremity MRIs
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe and painless test that provides pictures of organs and structures inside the body.
- An MRI scan is an imaging test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the body.
- The open design of the Extremity MRI allows only the affected extremity to be scanned.
- Ideal for claustrophobic, obese, elderly, and young patients.
What is an MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe and painless test that provides pictures of organs and structures inside the body. It produces these images by using a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy.
Tissues and organs that contain water provide the most detailed MRI pictures, while bones and other hard materials in the body do not show up well on MRI pictures. In many cases, MRI provides information that cannot be obtained from X-rays or CT scans.
What are the benefits of an extremity MRI?
Extremity MRI is a 1.5T high-field, dedicated extremity MRI and is five times more powerful than any competing low-field extremity MRI on the market, yielding images of extraordinary quality.
The extremity MRI offers:
- An open design: Only the affected extremity (arm or leg) goes inside the bore.
- A more comfortable setting for young patients, eliminating the need for sedation sometimes needed during full-body MRI scans.
- An ideal alternative for claustrophobic, obese and elderly patients.
- Quieter than a full-body MRI unit.
- An adjustable, reclining chair.
- Music entertainment available for patients available during the scan.
What can an MRI tell my doctor?
The extremity MRI unit works well for high-definition images of hands, fingers, elbows, wrists, knees, feet and ankles. The extremity MRI delivers the same image quality as a full-body MRI unit and is designed specifically for orthopedic imaging.
How do I prepare for my exam?
Generally, no preparation is necessary for an MRI scan. If your physician gives you a script or films, please bring them to your appointment. Unless otherwise instructed, you may eat or drink before the exam and continue your normal activities afterward. If your exam is scheduled with sedation, please check with your physician or the MRI department for further instructions.
It is very important for us to know if you have any metal in your body before your MRI scan is performed. The MRI uses a very strong magnet that may create movement of certain metal objects in your body.
In most cases, an MRI exam is safe for patients for metal implants, except for a few types.
People with the following implants cannot be scanned and should not enter an MRI scanning area unless explicitly instructed to do so by a radiologist or technologist who is aware of the presence of any of the following:
- Pacemaker or Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (AICD)
- Some types of metal coils placed within blood vessels.
- Any implanted mechanical or electrical device (i.e. cochlear or stapes ear implant, magnetic dentures, spinal stimulator, etc.)
- Some types of brain aneurysm clips
Knowing the make and model of the implanted device is helpful.
Also, let your physician know if you are claustrophobic, are pregnant or think you could be pregnant.
How is an MRI performed?
Patients will be positioned so that the affected extremity is placed in the bore of the MRI. If a contrast material will be used in the MRI exam, an IV will be set up.
During the exam, you will hear a rhythmic tapping sound. This is the normal sound of the magnetic fields as it scans.
MRI exams generally include multiple runs (sequences), some of which may last several minutes. An MRI exam normally takes between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the part of the body scanned.
Are there risks?
MRI exams don't pose a risk to the average patient. The strong magnetic field is not harmful in itself, but some implanted medical devices that contain metal may malfunction or cause problems during an MRI exam. Please talk to your doctor or radiology technologist if you have safety concerns regarding medical or electronic device in your body.
How will I find out the results?
Your MRI is supervised and interpreted by a subspecialized radiologist, a physician specially trained in reading MRI scans and in other diagnostic imaging tests.
The radiologist will prepare a report for your referring physician. You should
receive the results from the physician who sent you for your diagnostic study.