What is an MRI of the Extremities?

Upper Extremeties ScanMagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, transmitted electronically, printed or copied to a CD. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays). Detailed MRI images allow physicians to evaluate various parts of the body and determine the presence of certain diseases.

MRI imaging is usually the best choice for examining the following:

  • Body’s major joints.
  • Spine for disk disease.
  • Soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) and bones of the extremities.

MRI imaging is typically performed to diagnose or evaluate:

  • Degenerative joint disorders such as arthritis, meniscal tears (knee) or labral tears (shoulder and hip)
  • Fractures (in selected patients)
  • Joint abnormalities due to trauma (such as tears of ligaments and tendons)
  • Spinal disk abnormalities (such as a herniated disk)
  • The integrity of the spinal cord after trauma
  • Sports-related injuries and work-related disorders caused by repeated strain, vibration or forceful impact
  • Infections (such as osteomyelitis)
  • Tumors (primary tumors and metastases) involving soft tissues around the joints and extremities (such as muscle, bones and joints)
  • Pain, swelling or bleeding in the tissues in and around the joints and extremities
  • Congenital malformations of the extremities in children and infants
  • Development abnormalities of the extremities in children and infants
  • Congenital and idiopathic (developing during adolescence) scoliosis prior to surgery
  • Tethered spinal cord (abnormal stretching in the spinal cord) in infants and children

*Information courtesy of Radiologyinfo.org.