Extremity MRI examination

An extremity MRI scan is used in case of the upper limbs to examine the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand, and in case of the lower limbs such as the knee, ankle, and foot. MRI can detect soft tissue lesions, such as muscle and joint changes, and diagnose bleeding, inflammation, and tumours.

MRI is an imaging diagnostic procedure that uses magnetic field to take detailed images of the human body.

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The magnetic field generated by the device converts the energy changes in the body into a high-resolution, three-dimensional image by a high-performance computer. At Medicover Diagnostic Center, we use equipment that works with a closed but extremely short tube, it is 10 centimetres wider than average, its diameter is 70 cm, thus helping reduce the feeling of confinement.

What types of diseases does the extremity MRI help diagnose?

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The extremity MRI scan can be used to diagnose inflammation, tumours, and other soft tissue lesions. Your doctor may request an examination if you have the following conditions.

  • muscle and tendon injuries
  • cartilage injuries
  • inflammation
  • cancer

In case of which symptoms is it recommended to have the examination performed?

Your doctor may consider a scan if you have had an accident, have local pain or reduced mobility in your limbs.

How to prepare for an extremity MRI scan?

In all cases, it is recommended that the treating physician be consulted for details prior to the MRI examination, although the native scan does not require special preparation. However, it is important to know that due to the high magnetic field, it is forbidden to bring any metal, device or object containing or metal into the examination room! This applies to jewellery, piercings in the body, and some makeup products may also have a substance that affects the success of the test. Prior to an examination with contrast agent, specialist consultation is essential. Kidney function laboratory results showing creatinine and urea values ​​are also required to perform this type of scan. In the case of an examination with contrast agent, you cannot eat for 6 hours beforehand.

How is an extremity MRI scan performed?

After the pre-examination orientation, the operator will escort you to the MRI examination room and then ask you to sit on the examination bed. The operator adjusts the correct body position, places the coils required for the test, and then the examination bed lifts you into the magnetic tube. It is important to remain still during the scan, you can only change your body position on the instructions of the operator. The examination takes an average of 30 minutes, while you can communicate with our colleague continuously through the built-in microphone and speaker. The machine makes a loud, rattling sound that can be reduced with ear protection.

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When is an extremity MRI scan not possible to be performed?

  • The examination cannot be performed in the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • The examination cannot be performed if you do not have an MRI compatible metal, implant, prosthesis (pacemaker), orthopaedic metal (screw, plate, nail, wire), implanted joint prosthesis, prosthetic limb, implanted defibrillator, neurostimulator, implanted drug dispenser, vascular implants (e.g. clips, vascular occlusion devices), ear implants, metal foreign body (e.g. bullet, splinter, other electronic implants). Therefore, in case of an implant, implanted metal, prosthesis, please bring a written certificate of its compatibility with MRI examination (certified by the implanting specialist, institution) for the examination itself, which clearly states: the suitability to enter the MRI examination room, to perform the MRI examination and marking the maximum magnetic field strength (1.5 Tesla, 3 Tesla) for the device or implant. Inform the person performing the examination about the implant beforehand.
  • If the subject weighs more than 200 kilograms, but it also depends on the circumference of the abdomen.
  • In case of a scan with contrast agent, if the eGFR of the kidney function is below 45 ml/min, the test is not performed.

What to expect after the examination?

The finding in itself is not a diagnosis. After the scan, please always consult a specialist with the result.

The contrast agent used for MRI examinations is gadolinium-based. In rare cases, hypersensitivity might happen, which may occur in the form of an allergic reaction immediately after administration of the contrast agent.

When is the result of the extremity MRI examination expected?

The completed recording will be reviewed by the radiologist and the result will be available in our online system after 3 working days.

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