In the recent years, a much smaller MRI scanners have been available which can be used for imaging of arms and legs. This “Extremity MRI” eliminates the need to involve the entire body, as only an arm or leg need be inside the device, while the patient sits or reclines comfortably — and outside.
The Extremity MRI is a special scanner, designed to be more quiet and comfortable than a full-body MRI system. It is suitable for you, in case you need an exam of the arm (including elbow, wrist and hand) or the leg (including knee, ankle and foot). Extremity MRI provides the image quality comparable to a whole-body MRI system. Because the patient sits next to the scanner, the examination is not only more comfortable, but also less stressful for those who may have concerns about going into a full-body MRI system.
In general, Extremity MRI:
Preparation for the examination
Tell your doctor about any of your health problems, recent surgeries or allergies and whether there’s a possibility you are pregnant. The magnetic field is not harmful, but it may cause some medical devices to malfunction. Most orthopedic implants pose no risk, but you should always tell the technologist if you have any devices or metal in your body. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Only certain conditions make it unsafe to have an MRI. You must not have an MRI if you have any of the following:
During the exam, you will sit in a comfortable reclining chair. Only the body part being examined will go into the magnet. Many patients even find the procedure so relaxing that they fall asleep during the scan. You will hear a humming or vibrating sound. When you hear this sound, it is important to keep still. Motion during the scan may result in the technologist having to repeat parts of the scan. You can leave immediately after the scan is completed. The images from the procedure will be reviewed by a radiologist who will send a report to your doctor. You should arrange to see or talk to your doctor after the exam to discuss your results.