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About the Scan – Bone and Muscle (Musculoskeletal) MR Scan

SMIL offers a musculoskeletal MR scan to examine abnormalities in the muscles. A muscle MR scan is a noninvasive and painless medical test.

Musculoskeletal MR imaging is usually the best choice for examining the:

  • body's major joints.
  • spine for disk disease.
  • soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments). Musculoskeletal MR imaging is typically performed to diagnose or evaluate:
  • degenerative joint disorders such as arthritis, meniscal tears (knee) or labral tears (shoulder and hip).
  • fractures (in selected patients).
  • joint abnormalities due to trauma (such as tears of ligaments and tendons).
  • spinal disk abnormalities (such as a herniated disk).
  • the integrity of the spinal cord after trauma.
  • sports-related injuries and work-related disorders caused by repeated strain, vibration or forceful impact.
  • infections (such as osteomyelitis).
  • tumors (primary tumors and metastases) involving soft tissues around the joints and extremities (such as muscle, bones and joints).
  • pain, swelling or bleeding in the tissues in and around the joints and extremities.

For your musculoskeletal MR scan, you will be positioned on the moveable examination table. Straps and bolsters may be used to help you stay still and maintain the correct position during imaging.

Devices that contain coils capable of sending and receiving radio waves may be placed around or adjacent to the area of the body being studied.

If a contrast material will be used in the MRI exam, an intravenous (IV) catheter, also known as an IV line will be inserted into a vein in your hand or arm. A saline solution may be used. The solution will drip through the IV to prevent blockage of the IV catheter until the contrast material is injected.

You will be moved into the magnet of the MRI unit and the SMIL radiologist and technologist will leave the room while the MRI examination is performed. If a contrast material is used during the examination, it will be injected into the intravenous line (IV) after an initial series of scans. Additional series of images will be taken during or following the injection.

When the examination is completed, you may be asked to wait until the SMIL technologist or radiologist checks the images in case additional images are needed.

Your intravenous line will be removed.

MRI exams generally include multiple runs (sequences), some of which may last several minutes. The entire examination is usually completed within 30 to 45 minutes.

Learn more about how to prepare for a bone and muscle MR scan in the preparations for a bone and muscle MR scan section.

Find out if a bone and muscle MR scan is right for you in the benefits and risks of a bone and muscle MR scan section.

For a downloadable/printable PDF about this exam with preparation instructions click here.

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