A Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) is an advanced diagnostic test can be incredibly helpful. I am a big believer in them.
In fact, this week I’ve had two to the knee pictured here. I unfortunately twisted it running on the beach on the last day of my recent trip so I thought this would be a good time to blog about this important topic.
I went to my first physical therapy session early this morning hoping my partially torn medial meniscus doesn’t need surgery. I experienced what my clients go through on a daily basis – more about that later.
Why not just rely on an x-ray?
Magnetic resonance imaging uses powerful magnets and radio frequencies to create a 3-D image that clearly shows bones, cartilage, blood vessels, muscle, tendons, and ligaments.
An x-ray only creates a flat image of the skeleton. An x-ray is useful to detect broken bones, but not to diagnose herniated disks and soft tissue injuries, which are common types of car crash injuries. The surgeon also had me x-rayed.
Furthermore an MRI does not release radiation. Although the small dose of a single x-ray is safe, your doctor will probably recommend an MRI if you are pregnant, have an underlying medical condition, or have had multiple recent x-rays or CT scans. Because your doctor can refer you to an MRI without concern about radiation exposure, he can do so in gray-area cases in which he only suspects an injury.
Is an MRI worth the cost?
There is of course one disadvantage to an MRI — the price. It can cost $2,000.00 or more, although your health insurance or my ability to secure my clients a much lower price should moot this concern. When deciding if it’s worth the cost to you, ask these questions:
- Will an MRI more accurately diagnose my injury?
- Does my doctor or do I suspect that I may need surgery?
If the answer to either is yes, you should have one. Continue reading