Extremity MRI Scans

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is an imaging test that helps a doctor to identify soft tissue damage. It provides detailed images of an affected area that can be used in the diagnosis of various conditions.

If you are interested in getting an MRI scan, make an appointment with the highly-trained surgeons at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center. We have many offices throughout Greater Columbus for your convenience.

Fun Fact

The very first magnetic resonance imaging exam was performed on a live human on July 3, 1977. Over the past decades, MRI scans have become very useful in helping doctors identify internal areas of concern within the body. 

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What Is an Extremity MRI Scan?

An extremity MRI scan is a type of imaging scan that is used on just a single extremity, such as an arm, leg, hand, or foot. The scanner uses radio waves and a magnetic field to produce detailed images of the muscles, joints, bones, blood vessels, and nerves.

In comparison to a traditional MRI scanner, an extremity MRI scanner is smaller in size. However, the size does not affect the image quality on the extremity MRIs.

The scanner offers a complete MRI system in a compact machine with no RF shielding cage required. They are ideally suited for small diagnostic practices; however, they can also be found in large radiology departments.

What Conditions Can an MRI Scan Diagnose?

An extremity MRI can provide detailed images of your extremities. This allows your foot doctor to examine the soft tissue of your muscles and joints for damage.

At Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center, our orthopedic surgeons use extremity MRIs to diagnose foot and ankle conditions such as:

A doctor examining the results of an MRI scan in Columbus, OH.
  • Arthritis: The scan will look for damage to the cartilage. The symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.
  • Infection in the bone: This condition is also known as osteomyelitis. It can lead to an amputation if not treated early.
  • Stress fractures: Even though medical X-ray imaging generally used for bones, MRIs can detect small cracks caused by repetitive motion or overuse.
  • Tendon pathology: The Achilles tendon is often affected by injury or tendonitis. It is the thick band of tissue that runs down the back of your heel and connects the calf muscles to your heel.
  • Ankle sprains: There are common ankle injuries that occur when your ankle ligaments are overstretched or torn. Proper treatment is essential for recovery and prevention of further sprains.
  • Nerve pain: A common nerve problem is neuroma. The condition is caused by a pinched nerve between your third and fourth toes. You may feel a burning or tingling pain in your foot and toes.
  • Plantar fasciitis: This condition is where the fibrous tissue that runs under your foot from your heel to your toes becomes inflamed. You will usually feel pain early in the morning or after rest.
  • Soft tissue mass or bone lesion: Growths in the soft tissue and bone can occur for many reasons, and most are benign. However, some can be cancerous. Your symptoms from these masses may cause pain.

Benefits of an Extremity MRI Scanner

A female patient getting an ankle and leg extremity MRI scan.

Many patients find traditional MRI scanners to be uncomfortable, and some get anxious and claustrophobic inside. The extremity MRI is different because patients can sit comfortably in a chair, while just the extremity being examined goes inside the machine.

Unlike X-rays, extremity MRIs can provide detailed images of the soft tissue in your limbs. They also do not emit any radiation.

Extremity MRIs have low energy consumption, making them more environmentally friendly. The low power consumption also provides an economical benefit to the provider.

How to Prepare for an Extremity MRI Scan

There is no special preparation you need to take in the days leading to your extremity MRI scan. During the scheduled scan, you may be required to wear loose clothing or a hospital gown. It is also advisable to take off any jewelry.

What to Expect During an Extremity MRI Exam

The O-scan extremity MRI scanner has an accompanying chair where you can sit comfortably. During the scan, your operator will sit at the console either inside or outside the scanning room.

From your chair, the scanner will be positioned so your limb can be placed inside the scanner. The machine may make a thumping or tapping noise as the magnetic field is turned on and surrounds your limb. You will not feel the magnetic field or radio waves during the scan.

​An extremity MRI usually takes about half an hour, though some may last longer. After the procedure is complete, you will be able to return to regular activities.​

Results of an Extremity MRI Scan

An extremity MRI provides a safe and comfortable way of providing detailed images of your soft tissues. The resulting images can help your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis of your injury or condition.

Schedule an Extremity MRI Scan Today

If you are interested in getting an MRI scan, contact us today to make an appointment with the surgeons at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center. We serve patients throughout the Greater Columbus, OH area. Our team of professionals looks forward to helping you gain the peace of mind you deserve.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Mark A. Prissel

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