Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a useful tool in imaging the muscluloskeletal system. MRI does not use conventional radiation to form pictures, rather a magnetic field is used with radio waves to produce a picture. A computer is able to produce these pictures in slices of the foot and ankle in different planes for visualization. Magnetic Resonance Imaging gives superior soft tissue contrast. MRI is non-invasive meaning nothing is placed in or on your body. There is no preperation needed before an MRI examination of the lower extremities.
Preparing for the MRI, you may eat or drink as usual. The MRI scanner consists of a large magnet. You will be asked to change into a gown when you arrive for your appointment. The scanner can be affected by jewlery, watches, coins, buttons, zippers, and belt buckles. Credit cards may also be erased if it comes near the magnet. You will be asked about previous medical history as other metallic objects may not allow you to have an MRI completed. You will need to discuss any type of medical device with your doctor and MRI technician. Some types of the following medical devices contain metals: aneurysm clips, bb’s, cardiac valves, pacemakers, ear implants, insulin pumps, tens unit, penile prosthesis, holter monitor, vascular filters, and orthopedic hardware.
Examination consists of a technician placing you lying on the table. You will be asked to remain very still during the examination for clearity of the pictures. The scanner is a large donut-shaped magnet surrounding the table. The tube remains open so you are not closed in. Some people tend to have feelings of claustrophobia, which should be discussed before the examination. During the examination you will not feel anything, but rather hear a series of loud knocking or clicking sounds. You may choose to wear ear plugs or piped in music during the process. The length of time of the examination depends on many factors but typically for a lower extremity examination you will be in the processor 15 or 20 minutes.
Results of your examination are not typically discussed with you at the time of the procedure. The technician assisting you will print the films and have the read by a radiologist. The results are then sent to your referring podiatrist. You may be requested to pick up your films at a later date to be taken to your Podiatrist. You can then set up an appointment with the podiatrist for discussion of the results from the MRI.
For further information on the technical aspect of MRI please check out the following link:FURTHER INFORMATION