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Musculoskeletal MRI

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What is Musculoskeletal MRI used for?Knee cor 400px

Musculoskeletal MRI is used to evaluate the joints, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. MRI is useful to assess the cause of pain or loss of function of our joints. The shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle and joints of the foot can be examined.

Musculoskeletal MRI can be used for:

  • Evaluation of articular cartilage which lines the joints and allows smooth movements of our joints. Osteoarthrosis or osteoarthritis can occur as we get older when the cartilage wears away gradually from the surfaces of the bones that form the joints. This can lead to pain and locking. An inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis can also result in loss of cartilage. Cartilage can also tear away abruptly during high intensity sports.
  • Detection of meniscal tears in the knee. Tears can occur during sport or can be due to degeneration as we get older. The meniscus is a type of cartilage in the knee which lies between and cushions the articular cartilage.
  • Detection of ligament tears due to sports and other injuries, such as an anterior cruciate ligament tear which can occur with abrupt stopping and turning during netball or football or can occur with hyper-extension during skiing. Other sports injuries include tears of the collateral ligaments at the knee or ankle ligament tears.
  • Detection of the presence and size of tendon injuries such as rotator cuff tears.
  • To assess for damage following shoulder dislocation such as tears of the labrum. The labrum is a special type of cartilage which helps stabilise the shoulder.
  • To see fractures which are occult on x-ray.
  • Diagnosis and assessment of extent of bone and soft tissue tumours and infections. The appearance on MRI can be specific for certain tumours. This can help determine what treatment is the most appropriate such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery and aid the surgeon in planning the operative procedure. At Specialist MRI, our radiologists work closely with the bone tumour surgeons to detect and characterise tumours and evaluate for recurrence.
  • To determine whether the blood supply of a bone has been compromised leading to damage to the bone and/or joint.
  • To assess work related injuries. These can be due to overuse syndromes or the work environment, for example, due to a fall from a building site. MRI can assess the presence and extent of injury.

What to expect from a Musculoskeletal MRI?

An imaging receiver coil will be placed around the joint or bone to be scanned. The examination will take between 30 and 60 minutes.

Shoulder 400px