Shoulder MRI: Understanding this Common Procedure

January 23, 2020 – 3 min read

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shoulder mri

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the shoulder is a common procedure that uses radio waves and a powerful magnetic field to produce detailed images of muscles, tendons, and bones in the shoulder joint. A shoulder MRI allows injuries to be spotted quickly to help speed up diagnosis and get you on track to better health and a healed injury.

Benefits of a Shoulder MRI

There are many great benefits of a shoulder MRI compared to a traditional X-ray. First off, a shoulder MRI uses less radiation than a traditional X-ray. An MRI also provides more detailed images of the shoulder so technologists can get a better look and diagnose the problem more easily. An MRI allows the shoulder to be positioned in different angles while using radiofrequency to capture bones, soft tissue, tendons, muscles, and even blood vessels.

Another benefit of the shoulder MRI is that it’s completely painless. Now, with the Advanced Open MRI, you can enjoy even more freedom and space as this revolutionary MRI eliminates the closed-in feeling and gives you access to open-air in front, behind, and above.

Common Shoulder MRI Conditions

Since a shoulder MRI allows for more detailed and specific images, technologists can capture the following shoulder issues:

  • Labral tears
  • Joint degeneration
  • Arthritis
  • Tears in tendons or ligaments
  • Tumors
  • Fractures
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Effects from trauma or sports injuries
  • Infections

A shoulder MRI is incredibly effective if you suffer from pain but haven’t been able to locate the source. This is especially true when pain is resistant to treatment. An MRI is also used to track the progress after you’ve received shoulder surgery.

How to Prepare for a Shoulder MRI

After your doctor recommends a shoulder MRI, your next step is to schedule the imaging tests. While hospitals can provide MRIs, in most cases, it is less expensive to go to an individual imaging clinic. At American Health Imaging, we offer high-quality MRI exams for up to 75% less than hospitals. Unless otherwise instructed by your doctor, you can eat normally and take your regular medications before the exam.

It’s important to make sure you’re not wearing any jewelry or other metal items during your MRI procedure as this can interfere with the process. Let your doctor know if you have any metal implants that might hinder the process.

Shoulder MRI Procedure

During the procedure, a contrast dye may be injected into your shoulder joint. This process is called “arthrography” and is used to provide more detailed images of the shoulder joint. While the procedure is painless, your shoulder may feel slightly warm.

While you’re alone in the room during the procedure, the technologist can hear and see you at all times. During this time, the technologist controls the machine to take detailed images of your shoulder. Each series of images takes several minutes, but the entire process is usually completed in 15-45 minutes depending on the extent of your shoulder trauma.

At American Health Imaging, we have the latest high-quality MRI equipment and expertly trained radiologists to help you quickly determine the cause behind your shoulder pain.

Contact us today or talk to your doctor about scheduling your shoulder MRI with us so we can help you determine the next course of action and get you on the path to recovery.