MRI and Shoulder Pain
Get an MRI to Help Diagnose Your Shoulder Pain
X-rays may be useful in diagnosing some shoulder problems but because shoulders consist of a lot of soft tissue such as muscles and tendons, an MRI scan is often able to tell a lot more.
You may therefore find it useful to go for an MRI scan to help diagnose your shoulder pain.
What is MRI?
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and is a common medical diagnostic procedure today.
MRI is particularly useful for showing up the soft tissues in the body and so can be of great assistance when diagnosing your shoulder pain such as rotator cuff injuries.
What Does MRI Show
MRI uses a magnetic field to show up neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and oncological problems. It can also view the required area from a number of different planes.
Benefits of MRI over X-Ray
The first and most obvious benefit of MRI over x-rays when it comes to diagnosing shoulder pain is that MRI is able to show up the soft tissue such as tendons and muscles as well as the bone, whereas x-rays purely show up the bone.
This means that if there is any damage to the muscles or tendons x-rays are unable to pick this up.
Another advantage of MRI over x-rays is that MRI uses no ionizing radiation that can be dangerous when a person is exposed to this in too high quantities.
Who Should Not Use MRI to Diagnose Shoulder Pain
In certain circumstances MRI is not recommended. If you have any implants such as a pacemaker, insulin pumps, cochlear implants or ferromagnetic bodies then you should not use MRI.
Today new implants (since 2006) have been graded according to the US FDA as to whether they are MRI Safe, Conditional or Unsafe and you should also consider this when deciding whether to use MRI with an implant.
MRI scans are a great resource when it comes to diagnosing your shoulder pain because, unlike x-rays, they allow you to see all parts of your shoulder including muscles, tendons and bone.
If you have any implants or foreign bodies though you should avoid MRI unless they have been proven MRI safe.