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When Do I Need an MRI Scan


What is an MRI?

MRI is short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

This is a noninvasive medical test used to diagnose medical conditions by health practitioners.

 The MRI scanner is a tube surrounded by a giant circular magnet, where the patient is placed on a moveable bed that inserts into the magnet.

The magnetic field and radio frequency then pulses to produce detailed images of the internal body structure. This includes the organs, soft tissues and bone.

What can an MRI Scan detect?

– Fractures

– Herniated discs

– Pinched nerves

– Spinal tumors

– Spinal cord compression

– Changes in bone and cartilage structure resulting from ageing, disease and injury

What are the risks of an MRI

As radiation is not used, there is no risk of exposure to radiation during an MRI.

There are few patients that experience side effects from the contrast material:

– Nausea

– Headaches

– Pain at the site of injection

– Patients are rarely allergic to the contrast material, which can cause hives, itchy eyes or other reactions

Due to the use of the strong magnet, an MRI cannot be performed on patients with:

– Implanted pacemakers

– Any other type of iron-based metal implants.

When do I need an MRI Scan?

MRI Scans can be expensive and may not be covered by Medicare.

 MRI scans are usually required to evaluate disc abnormalities, knee ligamentous injuries, bone infections, bone or soft tissue tumours, joint abnormalities, head and brain trauma.

Osteopath’s and other first care practitioners are trained to be able to diagnose based on the clinical presentation. If a practitioner cannot reach a satisfactory diagnosis, there are medical red flags or it is a pre surgical issue, an MRI referral can then be made.



Drew Round

This post was written by Dr Drew Howell.

You can find out more about Drew here or book an appointment here.

Alternatively, you can call the clinic on 03 9908 2844.

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