Magnetic resonance imaging, which is the official name, is one of the so-called radiological or radio diagnostic tests. In these tests, radiation is used to see our interior. It may include MRI for arm and elbow which can be very helpful for doctors to take a closer look at the interior of your body.
One or the other is chosen (X-ray, MRI, CT or ultrasound), depending on what you want to see, since there is no perfect and infallible system. They all have their pros and cons.
MRI uses a large magnet and radio waves that pass through our body and provide very precise images of our interior. The magnet makes our molecules vibrate and can be photographed.
It is especially useful for scanning the brain and spinal cord. But it is also used to diagnose bone fractures and soft tissue injuries (organs that do not have bone).
An X-ray shows you the calcium in the bone and if there is a break, but the MRI gives you a better view of the interior of the bone, the nerves and the ligaments”,
Although it does not involve risks, and therefore, it is one of the most advisable methods, resonance cannot always be used or it is not convenient to do so.
The more up-to-date the equipment, the better images are obtained and therefore the final result is more reliable.
“It’s like a camera, the more perfect it is, the better the image quality”, explains the doctor. The latest models are three teslas (which is the quality measurement system).
In hospitals there may be more or less modern models. Depending on the need for image precision required, the doctor will request one or the other.
Unfortunately, the economic factor also influences. They are very expensive devices and not all centers can have them. An MRI device can cost almost two million euros.
To perform the MRI, the patient cannot wear anything metal that interferes and heats up. That’s why earrings, insulin pumps, etc. are removed.
When you want to see if blood enters a lesion, for example, because it is a tumor or an inflammation, and thus differentiate it from a stain that could be an old scar or fibrosis, you have to put a substance that allows you to see the blood.
That liquid is commonly known as a contrast. It could be considered the only “risk” of this test since this liquid sometimes causes an uncomfortable sensation of heat or discomfort.
The other techniques, radiography and CT, use ionizing radiation (X-rays). The ions can be harmful and even cause cancer in cases of very continuous use. Therefore, it is not advisable to do them in excess or if it is not totally necessary.
MRI is especially useful in cancer detection. But it should not be associated only with that. It is also the best option, among others, in knee problems, if you want to know if the injuries, for example, are in the tendons, in the meniscus or elsewhere and if they are recent or due to wear.