As the sports season gets on, we often see professional football, cricket, hockey, or basketball players getting hurt. Sometimes, the injury may not be visible to our open eyes, but it may leave room for potential damage.
That is where an MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan appears in the picture to assess how bad the injury is and what is the condition of your internal anatomy near the injured area.
Perhaps, MRI scans offer accurate evaluation and prognostic information to manage and treat health conditions! So, all athletes out there can fetch a faster restoration of their competitive activities with an MRI scan for sports injuries.
What Is An MRI Scan: Procedure & Preparation!
MRI scan is an imaging test where a giant scanner machine with attached magnets on the wall and computer-generated radio waves aligned with it works to create images of your internal body parts with precision and dexterity.
The scan is non-invasive and, therefore, painless. The scan is radiation-free and, therefore, free from the risk of further health complications.
There’s no special preparation that you require to pursue an MRI scan. You can eat your regular meal, drink water, and exercise before the scan appointment. You can carry forward your daily routine too!
- However, you need to leave all metallic objects outside the test lab and wear the gown they give!
- Also, if you take medications like that for asthma or high blood pressure, you must talk to your healthcare providers about whether or not to have them before the test.
When you march inside the radiology lab, you shall see the scanner standing right away and an attached moveable bed in front. This is where you have to lie down while the scan takes place.
- The bed moves inside the donut-shaped semi-circular tube, and you may feel anxious or claustrophobic. So, if you have such tendencies of suffocation, you can ask for sedatives prior to the test.
- Healthcare providers these days even provide blankets, ear cuffs, and eye masks to keep you diverted and stress-free during the scan. Now, that’s a great alternative to sedative drugs, I must say!
When you are inside the machine, the magnets tend to provoke your body’s protons to come out of their position, while the radio waves wait to send signals to the computer console when the protons travel back to their place.
The radiologist watching over the imaging on the screen aims to locate the injury and fetch a more clear picture of it. If the images lack clarity, they may opt for contrast administration intravenously to view the soft tissues more prominently.
- The contrast dye may bring side effects like fever, nausea, infections, swelling, etc. So, make sure you discuss with your healthcare provider the allergies you have before entering the test lab.
The radiologist shall continue the scan until accurate images lay extracted. The overall procedure may take around 45 to 90 minutes. After the scan, you get free to return to your tight schedule.
When Do Doctors Prescribe An MRI Scan For Sports Injuries?
Doctors prescribe an MRI scan for sports injuries when –
- You have an orthopedic injury like – 1. severe injury in your leg or arm muscles during a sports match, 2. ligament tears, and 2. Injury in your knee, ankle, hip, elbow, neck, shoulder, or thumb joints after your match; and
- You get a neurological injury, where your nerves and tendons running through the inside of your skin layers get partially; or completely strained or damaged.
What Can An MRI Scan for Sports Injuries Diagnose?
If you are an athlete, you would know that soft-tissue injuries are very common in sports. MRI’s contrast compatibility and clarity to soft tissue diagnosis make it a top pick among healthcare providers for the quick management and treatment of sports injuries.
- An MRI scan can precisely document your muscle damage extent and subsequently trace intra-articular lesions, be they meniscal or articular cartilage injuries.
- It can detect plantar fasciitis, i.e., an inflammation of the fibrous tissues that reside along your foot bottom, connecting your heel bone to the toe.
- An MRI can assess a sports-related tear in your Achilles tendon or the one connecting your calf muscles to the heels.
- It can reveal an occult bone injury in your foot and ankles even after many days of your sports injury.
- MRI scans can certainly show bone fractures, swelling and inflammation in your knee joints, and so forth!
Why Do Doctors Ask For An MRI Scan For Sports Injuries?
Doctors ask for an MRI scan for sports injuries instead of a CT or X-ray because of two main reasons, and they are as follows.
In simple terms, an MRI scan is safe for all patients, from those under 18s to those breastfeeding, old, and those with heart diseases. Undoubtedly, this is an advantage that you won’t get in a CT (Computed Tomography), PET (Positron Emission Tomography), or X-ray because they always comprise harmful ionizing radiation during the scan.
MRI, on the other hand, works without any radiation. Thus, there’s no chance for this modality to trigger health complications like kidney problems, heart diseases, or more complex cancers.
How accurate is an MRI scan for screening sports injuries; you must be wondering! Well, an MRI is more than 90% sensitive and 88% specific in identifying medial meniscus tears and nearly 79% sensitive and 95% specific in detecting lateral meniscus tears. This scanning modality can even classify the meniscus tear as per their orientations.
On the same note, an MRI holds about 90.7% sensitivity in diagnosing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear and around 90.4% in diagnosing posterior cruciate ligament or PCL tear. Yes. That’s way higher than other imaging tests!
Although many say that an MRI scan is overused as a diagnostic procedure to screen sport-related injuries, the imaging efficacy of this modality, no doubt, makes it stand tall as a commonly-utilized technique of 2023. It’s expensive, but it’s more accurate. It’s not easily accessible, but the most reliable method.
Do you need an MRI scan in Chandigarh to diagnose your sports injury? You can avail of our platform, www.mrichandigarh.com, and book the test at your schedule. We have NABL-accredited labs listed for you to get an efficient healthcare service and discounted quotations too!