Why Might My Doctor Recommend an MRI?

Apr 30, 2021

Why-Might-My-Doctor-Recommend-an-MRIIf you fell and broke a bone or were injured in a car accident, your doctor may want to run an MRI Scan. An MRI is a type of diagnostic imaging technology that provides your doctor with high-quality images of your internal structures and how they may have been damaged due to injury or illness. MRI scans are commonly recommended by doctors in situations where they need to see a greater level of detail in how your bones, joints, muscles, nerves, organs, and other soft tissues have been affected. An internal injury may not be as simple as one broken bone; oftentimes, the area where the broken bone occurred can also be damaged as well. Your doctor may want to get a more detailed assessment of how your injury or illness has affected you and they may recommend an MRI scan to do that.

What an MRI Scan Does

An MRI actually stands for “magnetic resonance imaging” and is a state-of-the-art machine that uses high-quality magnets and radio waves to provide your doctor with 3D images of your internal structure. This diagnostic imaging tool uses advanced computer technologies to take cross-sectional images of the affected area. An MRI scan is non-invasive and does not use any radiation. The MRI machine looks like a large tube and you lie on a table that is inserted into the machine. When you get an MRI scan, the radiologist performing the examination will give you instructions over a two-way intercom and will instruct you to stay absolutely still so the images don’t turn out blurry or distorted.

Common Reasons for an MRI Scan

Your doctor may recommend an MRI scan to look for a wide range of issues, from car accident injuries to illnesses that affect your musculoskeletal system and internal organs. MRI scans are commonly used to evaluate spinal problems, cartilage damage, and tears of soft tissues like ligaments, tendons, and muscles. When your doctor recommends an MRI scan for a particular injury or illness, the scan will likely be focusing on a specific area of the body and how all the bones, soft tissues, organs, and other internal structures were affected. MRIs are also used to identify abnormal growths or masses, like cysts and tumors.

MRI Scan vs. X-Ray

X-rays are more well-known for diagnosing a bone break or fracture and some common injuries in athletes and are relied upon in emergency situations due to their fast results. However, an X-ray only provides your doctor with a 2D image of the affected area and will only show bones and joints. An MRI scan may be needed to assess how soft tissues and other structures surrounding the bone have been impacted. X-rays typically only take a few minutes, compared to an MRI scan which can take up to an hour. However, MRI scans will provide much more detail and information to your doctor. Additionally, an X-ray may not be able to pick up tiny details like a hairline fracture, which would be more obvious and detectable with an MRI. X-rays also expose you to small amounts of radiation, while an MRI scan does not.

MRI Scan vs. CT Scan

CT scans are similar to an X-ray and use radiation, though they do provide your doctor with a more 3D image of your internal structures. CT scans are also fast and are typically utilized in emergency situations when quick results are needed in order to address an acute injury or illness. However, an MRI scan will provide the most accurate detailed images of your bones, joints, soft tissues, and organs. Some injuries or damage may not be as easily spotted on a CT scan compared to an MRI scan.

Preparing for an MRI Scan

Unlike preparing for surgery or other invasive procedures, MRI scans typically do not require any sort of dietary restrictions or preparations prior to the scan. However, there are things to know about the MRI experience. For example, because the MRI machine uses very strong magnets, you cannot wear any metal or jewelry. MRI scans are also not appropriate for people with certain implants or internal medical devices. An MRI scan is known for being a loud experience, so your doctor may provide you with headphones to help dampen the noise.

The Lithia Springs location of AICA Orthopedics has MRI scans available in-house, which means you can meet with your doctor and go for your MRI all in one convenient location. Visit us to learn more about how we use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to provide our patients with the best care!


Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.