Many people have the perception of Magnetic Resonance Imaging of being linked to the head mainly but it is used for all non-bony structures in the body for diagnostic purposes. The reason being, that it uses strong magnetic fields to measure the movements of molecules in the body after aligning them and then letting them go. It can look through tendons, joints, and muscular veins.
This captures clear detailed images in your body without making any sorts of surgical incisions. When talking about MRI for your knee, it is focused on just your knee and the area surrounding it. This is done for viewing the non-bony structures of your knee to see possible injuries due to physical exertion looking at any possible wear and tear which might be causing pain or hindrance.
Doctors can also ask you to get a special kind of MRI in which there is a special type of magnetized contrast dye involved which is injected into your body and will help gain more detailed images.
Causes of getting a knee MRI done
MRI’s are used for diagnostic purposes. Knee MRI’s are done to diagnose a number of conditions. Doctors may combine other scans like X-rays with MRI’s to see into the problem deeper for example if there is a certain type of abnormality in the cartilage, tendons or nerves.
MRI’s are commonly done to diagnose conditions such as:
- Sports injuries
- Hindrance in knee movement
- Certain problems in bodily implants
- Damage in ligaments, cartilage or meniscus
- Fluid buildup inside the knee
Preparation and performance of a knee MRI
Before an MRI is performed, the technician or radiologist explains the entire process to the patients telling all the possible risks. Other than this, a consent form is signed and a medical form is also provided to fill in all possible medical issues.
Many metallic objects the patient has on has to be removed for example piercings, clothing with zippers etc. if there are any metallic implants, the patient must inform the technician such as pacemakers.
If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant then you must not get an MRI with contrast dye done as it can be injurious for the fetus.
You must also tell the technician if you have severe or mild kidney issues as contrast dye can be fatal for such patients.
The patients are placed on a padded bed and are slid into a small tight circular machine head first. There can be pillows placed with the knee bracing the knee in one place so that it stays still to have clearer images. After the scan is done, the patient is not required to stay in the hospital overnight. If you have conditions like claustrophobia then the doctor might recommend an open MRI for you or give you sedatives to relax you.
There are also loud noises made when the MRI is being performed like thudding noises for which technicians might give you earplugs or music to listen.
The test can take 30 minutes to an hour usually and after you are done with the process, you can wear your normal clothes again and continue with your daily routine. Unless you have been sedated, then you must be supervised by a friend or family member and are not allowed to drive for the next 24 hours.
The risks involved in a knee MRI are like the ones involved in all other ones.