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What to look for in an MRI

The most critical element of an MRI scanner which will directly impact the quality of the image produced is the type of scanner. The imaging technology known as ‘high field’ is designed to discern even the smallest of anomalies in much greater detail than ‘low field’ tech.

MRI machines which have a magnetic field of 1.5 Tesla or greater will return the most detailed images. While this is not too much of an issue when used to diagnose soft tissue damage, for example before chiropractic diagnosis and treatment, it is certainly a great help in making a swift diagnosis.

Certain chiropractic clinics prefer an MRI scan over an x-ray for assessing soft-tissue injuries and damage. Knowing the type of MRI scan you will be subject to and what you should be tested for are the two main considerations in choosing the right MRI facility for you.

Knowing what to look for

In easy to understand terms, a Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI scan as it is more commonly referred, uses targeted magnetic fields to create a 3D image of the body. Unlike an X-ray which bombards your body with radiation which over time can cause other health issues, an MRI scan is benign.

Another benefit of MRI scans over X-ray scans is that it can reveal in much clearer detail soft tissues damage or other internal issues which an X-ray would not. A chiropractor, armed with years of training and experience will typically be able to diagnose a musculoskeletal injury and quickly treat accordingly with targeted manipulation of key areas of the skeletal frame.

However, with 3D images of the damaged area at his or her disposal as a result of the MRI scans, he or she will be able to treat the issues much more effectively. Such scans can also be used to assess shoulder, knees and other joint and muscle problems in the body, which enables much more rapid diagnosis and of course successful treatment.

Is the right hardware in use?

Depending on what part of the body requires a scan, the scanner should have a dedicated coil for suitable imaging. Different coils are required for scans of the brain or the abdomen for example. The coil is a piece of hardware which is deployed to pick up the signal of the scan.

Dedicated coils are essential for more accurate imaging and subsequent clearer and more accurate diagnosis. If an all-purpose coil is used in the place of a coil dedicated to the body part, then there will be a negative impact on available diagnostic accuracy to be made from the scan.

Putting health first

It doesn’t hurt to ask questions about the scan you are about to be subject to. Health care should not be a gamble; be sure to ask about and talk about the scan, what it involves and how it will help in more successful treatment of your condition or injury.

Remember, it is all about the quality of the treatment you receive – not the cost. The answers you receive to the questions you pose about treatment are all part of the service you should expect from your chiropractic and healthcare professionals.

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