MRI in doctors office

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

MRI is short for “magnetic resonance imaging.”

It is an imaging method used to view internal body structures using combinations of radio waves and magnetic fields. An MRI is a large noninvasive device which creates three-dimensional, internal images of the soft tissues of the body, including the brain, spinal cord and muscle.

MRI scanning is painless and does not involve x-ray radiation.

Scientists are developing newer MRI scanners that are smaller devices. These new scanners can be most useful in detecting infections and tumors of the soft tissues of the body. They are also very helpful in detecting and staging arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis erosions may show up on MRI six months before they show up on plain x-ray.

Among the other problems, MRI is used for in musculoskeletal diseases are the detection of tendonitis, bursitis, fasciitis, myositis, soft tissue tumors, rotator cuff disease, nerve entrapment disorders, cysts, and ganglions.

In arthritis research, MRI is extremely useful in evaluating the effects of new arthritis drugs. MRI scanners in doctors’ offices are generally more open and more comfortable as well as being less claustrophobic than the larger scanners in hospitals.

Patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scanned with MRI because of the effect of the magnet.

Even though MRI is sensitive and accurate, it is expensive. Many insurers and at least one state (Maryland) will not pay for this study if it is conducted in a doctor's office.

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