Modern medicine is an amazing thing. At one point in time, a simple infection was the equivalent of a death sentence. When you’re doctors told you that you had diabetes, you were doomed to a short and painful life, often losing limbs before dying a terrible death. But thanks to medical advancements like antibiotics and insulin, these illnesses aren’t as debilitating.
Another such medical advancement that has transformed the way medical professionals operate is the availability of diagnostic imaging with MRI scans. Before the development of MRI radiology, doctors had to physically open a patient up to get a view of the organs or tissue or bone that was problematic. These measures were so invasive that they were sometimes worse than the actual health issue itself. MRIs allowed doctors to get an image of the inside of a patient without ever opening them up.
That being said, MRI technology was not without its drawbacks. The setup of an MRI machine forces the patient to lie still in a tiny cavity, subjected to loud noises. This can be overwhelming to patients who are claustrophobic or suffer from anxiety, sometimes limiting them access to the help they need. For this reason, doctors have developed extremity MRI technology. Extremity MRI machines only capture hold the portion of the body in question, providing a more comfortable experience. We have a few answers to your questions about extremity MRI machines, below:
Frequently Asked Questions About Extremity MRI Machines
- What is an extremity MRI machine?
Extremity MRI machines utilize the same technology as standard MRI machines, but designed to only enclose the arm, leg, foot, hand, or other extremity in questions. Rather than being forced into a claustrophobia-inducing hole, the extremity machine allows the patient to relax in a comfortable chair during the procedure. Additionally, since the extremity machine is only used for small portions of the body, it utilizes less energy to power, which results in a silent machine, eliminating the anxiety-triggering noise of the traditional MRI machine.
- Eliminates the need for sedation. Some patients find MRI machines so overwhelming that they can’t consciously endure it. In these cases, doctors have been forced to use strong medication to sedate them, which comes with its own set of harmful side effects. The setup of an extremity MRI machine eliminates the need for sedation.
- More ergonomic solution. Traditional MRI technology force patients to remain in an uncomfortable position for 45 minutes or longer at a time. The extremity MRI machine allows the patient to relax in a comfortable position during the procedure.
- Clearer imaging. Sometimes the images created with MRI technology are disrupted by unintended movement by the patient. Since only the extremity in questions is in the machine, it is easier for patient to keep it still, which results in clearer images.
- Less triggering. Many patients who need an MRI scan of an extremity have suffered from trauma to get the injury to begin with. Being forced into a loud and tiny tube can trigger anxiety and claustrophobia. The extremity MRI machine eliminates that.
- What kind of medical conditions can be assessed with an extremity MRI machine?
Common medical issues that the extremity MRI machine are suited for include:
- Tumors that are located on the arms, hands, fingers, elbows, legs, knees, feet, or toes.
- Degeneration of the joints, either through disease or injury.
- Damage to the nerves on the extremities of the body.
- Fractures of the bone. This is a superior option to X-rays, since extremity MRI machines doesn’t admit any radiation that could cause cancer.
- Infection or any other injury to the bones.
- What is involved in an extremity MRI procedure?
When you receive an extremity MRI, you’ll remove any jewelry or clothing on the portion of the body undergoing the imaging, and put that limb within the hole of the MRI machine. When the imaging process begins, you’ll keep that portion of your body still for approximately 30 minutes, while relaxing in a recliner. You can listen to music or watch TV during this time. When the images have been captured, you can get up and go about your life as you normally would.
Why would the extremity MRI machine be used if traditional MRI technology does the same thing?
Among other reasons, here are a few benefits of using extremity MRI technology over a traditional MRI machine: