MRI, which stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a non-invasive medical imaging technique that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to generate detailed images of the internal structures of your body.
MRI provides clear and high-resolution images of various body parts, such as your brain, spine, joints, organs, and blood vessels. It is used to diagnose and evaluate a wide range of medical conditions, including injuries, tumours, infections, and abnormalities.
How does an MRI work?
During an MRI scan, you will lie on a table that slides into a cylindrical machine. The magnetic field aligns the hydrogen atoms in your body, and when radio waves are applied, these atoms emit signals that are captured by the scanner and processed into detailed images. After the scan is complete, you will be provided with clear and high-resolution images which can then be used to diagnose and evaluate any medical conditions you may have.
Benefitsof an MRI
Detailed, clear and high-resolution imaging
What conditions can MRI diagnose?
MRIs can be used to diagnose the following conditions:
Brain and spinal cord disorders
Joint and musculoskeletal disorders
Abdominal and pelvic conditions
Soft tissue and organ abnormalities
Pelvic floor disorders
What results can I expect?
When undergoing an MRI, you can expect several potential results based on the purpose of the scan and the area being examined.
Some outcomes you may experience include:
Accurate diagnosis: MRI can provide detailed imaging, enabling your healthcare provider to make a precise diagnosis of your condition or injury.
Visualised anatomical structures: the images generated by MRI offer a clear view of your internal organs, tissues and structures, which can help to identify any abnormalities or irregularities.
Detection of pathologies: MRI has the capability to detect various pathologies, including tumours, cysts, infections, inflammation, and structural abnormalities.
Treatment planning: MRI results can guide your healthcare provider in developing an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your specific condition, ensuring effective and targeted care.
Progress monitoring: if you are undergoing treatment, follow-up MRIs can track the progress of your condition, allowing your healthcare provider to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and make any necessary adjustments.
Early detection: MRI is capable of detecting conditions in their early stages, increasing the likelihood of successful treatment and better outcomes.
Results will vary from person to person, depending on the severity of the issue and your overall health. Your orthopaedist can give you a better idea of what to expect based on your individual needs and circumstances.
How many MRI scans are needed?
The number of MRI scans needed can vary depending on your specific medical condition and the purpose of the imaging. In many cases, a single MRI session is sufficient in capturing the necessary images and providing the information required for diagnosis or treatment planning. However, in some situations, multiple MRI scans may be necessary to determine your condition and accurately diagnose it.
Your orthopaedist will determine the appropriate number of scans needed based on factors such as the complexity of your condition, the area being imaged, and the need for follow-up or monitoring. Going for all your recommended MRI scans can ensure a comprehensive evaluation and optimise the diagnostic and treatment process.
Your orthopaedist will be able to provide you with a bespoke treatment plan, tailored to your needs and requirements.
Dr Puah KL is our Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Artisan Sports & Orthopaedic Surgery. He used to serve the sports service of Singapore General Hospital - the highest volume trauma centre for orthopaedics in Singapore.