How to read a shoulder mri?

May 10, 2010

To begin with reading an MRI is no easy task and one requires years of training in order to read radiological films like MRIs and CT scans. Only a trained radiologist would be able to read the MRI and your doctor, who recommended the MRI, would be able to interpret the report for you.

An MRI scan or Magnetic Resonance Imaging works differently from the more familiar imaging technique of x-rays. This powerful technique of imaging takes advantage of the presence of hydrogen atoms within the property, using their magnetic properties. Unlike x-rays which use ionizing radiation, MRIs employ magnetic fields and radio waves. Because of the method it uses, there are also no known ill effects from an MRI. MRI scans give the radiologist a very clear picture of the soft tissues like the ligaments and tendons, and muscles and cartilage. When studying bone structures however CT scans and x-rays are much more efficient. MRI scans are therefore very useful when investigating any damage to muscles, tendons or ligaments as is the case in most sports related injuries.

MR arthrograms are also frequently employed when examining abnormalities or tears in cartilage and ligaments within a joint. The procedure used basically involves injecting a special dye into the joint that is being investigated. This is done before the scan is conducted, as it enables the radiologist to get a clearer view of the joint structures.

Another technique used also involves ABER views. These are basically special views that are commonly used for shoulder MRIs, to get a better insight of the common sporting injuries in the area. Some possible injuries include Labral tears, SLAP tears, small rotator cuff tears, and Throwers shoulder. This technique is however very specialized and it is imperative that the skills of a radiologist are employed for both the supervision and interpretation of these images.

The use of MRI shoulder scans has greatly increased in recent times for a variety of reasons. This is largely attributed to increased sports activity, and also due to repetitive motion injuries. Another detail that may factor in these changes is the fact that most of us remain active much later in our life as compared to previous generations. In the event of an injury to the shoulder or even chronic shoulder pain, an x-ray is first taken, after which your doctor may find it necessary to study and MRI scan for a thorough evaluation of the internal structures of the shoulder.

Submitted by M T on May 10, 2010 at 01:30

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