When your doctor wants a detailed look at your shoulder, they may recommend a shoulder MRI. This process uses magnetic resonance imaging to create detailed pictures of your shoulder which your doctor can use to diagnose or guide treatment for certain conditions. Here’s a closer look at this procedure and an overview of what to expect.

Diagnosis With Shoulder MRI

A shoulder MRI can help to diagnose or assess a number of conditions including the following:

  • Joint degeneration
  • Arthritis
  • Labral tears
  • Shoulder fractures
  • Rotator cuff tears, impingement, or other disorders
  • Tears in ligaments or tendons
  • Causes of shoulder pain, especially when pain is resistant to treatment
  • Reasons behind swelling
  • Effects from trauma or sports injuries
  • Infections
  • Tumors in your shoulder area
  • Tracking progress after a shoulder surgery

If you have some of the above conditions, your doctor may recommend several shoulder MRIs. You may have one to diagnose your symptoms. However, you may need additional MRIs to track the condition.

Advantages of Shoulder MRI

A shoulder MRI uses less radiation than a traditional X-ray, and it provides healthcare providers with more detailed images of your shoulder. The shoulder MRI can be positioned in a range of different angles, and it uses radio frequency pulses to create images of soft tissues, bones, tendons, muscles, and vessels. If you had organs in that part of your body, they would also be visible.

Additionally, an MRI is completely painless. This is a non-invasive, pain-free experience that is done on an outpatient experience. The only discomfort some people feel during an MRI is anxiety over being in small places. When you get an MRI, you usually need to lie down in a long tube, and then, the imaging technology moves around you.

If you anticipate feeling uncomfortable for those reasons, talk with your doctor, and they can prescribe some anti-anxiety medication for you to take before the procedure. They may also be able to substitute a walk-in or upright MRI which is not as claustrophobic.

Preparing for a Shoulder MRI

If your doctor recommends a shoulder MRI, you need to schedule the imaging tests. In most cases, it is less expensive to go to a free-standing imaging clinic than it is to get your shoulder MRI at the hospital. Once you have the appointment scheduled, talk with the imaging experts to see how you should prepare.

Unless told otherwise by your physician or imaging technician, you can take medications and eat normally before the procedure. However, you need to ensure that you aren’t wearing anything metallic items when you get the MRI. They can disrupt the process. Take off all jewelry, let your doctor know if you have any metal implants including IUDs, and also remember not to wear makeup because that tends to have metals in it.

Ready for a shoulder MRI? Then, contact us to set up an appointment today. At American Health Imaging, we can work with both patients and doctors to set up MRIs and other imaging tests. We provide high-quality scans and great customer service for our patients and referring physicians. You can rely on us for fast, high quality, professional help.