Different Types of MRIs and What They Look For

Apr 28, 2021

Different Types of MRIs and What They Look ForWhen you meet with your chiropractor for a recent injury causing you pain, they may recommend you get an MRI scan before beginning treatment. In order to treat an injury or illness that affects your spine, your chiropractor may want a clearer picture of how your body has been affected and an MRI can help. In many cases, an X-ray may be enough to provide your chiropractors with the diagnostic images necessary, but other times an MRI scan may be more helpful.

Chiropractic care provides you with a natural, minimally invasive option for treatment and pain relief. Chiropractors are well-known for treating neck, back, and spine pain, but they can also help with a variety of other injuries and illnesses that affect your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves as well. If you have an injury or illness that affects the health of your spine, it can also affect other parts of your body. An MRI provides your chiropractor with highly detailed images of the affected area so they can develop the most appropriate treatment plan for you.

What to Expect with an MRI

When you get an MRI scan, you will be asked to remove any metal jewelry and wear clothing or a surgical gown that doesn’t have any metal. That’s because an MRI actually uses high-powered magnets and radio waves to take detailed images of your internal structures. Instead of an X-ray or CT scan, you don’t have to worry about exposure to radiation with this type of diagnostic tool. An MRI scan may take longer than other types of scans and require you to stay very still in order for the images to come out clear and detailed.

Open vs. Closed MRI Scans

Some people who experience fear of enclosed spaces like claustrophobia may be concerned about an MRI scan. However, these types high-tech of scans are constantly improving and there are now options for an open MRI scan in many places. The traditional MRI experience is known as a closed MRI, where you lay on a table that inserts into a closed tube-like structure.

MRI Scan with Contrast

In some cases, your doctor may recommend an MRI scan with contrast in order to provide more clarity and detailed pictures. An MRI with contrast involves injecting a contrast dye through an IV that will help highlight certain parts of your body. Non-contrast MRI scans are more appropriate for pregnant women or people with kidney issues. A contrast MRI may be recommended in cases where a tumor may be suspected.

Common Types of MRI Scans

MRI stands for “magnetic resonance imaging” and can be used to assess a variety of injuries and illnesses that affect your entire body. There are certain types of MRI scans that may be recommended depending on what brings you to the doctor. Here are three examples of common MRI scans available:

Cardiac MRI Scan

A cardiac MRI scan will take detailed images of your entire circulatory system, including your heart and blood vessels, to help identify any injuries or illnesses. Your doctor may recommend a cardiac MRI if they suspect any blockages in your blood vessels or damage from a recent heart attack. A cardiac MRI can provide your doctor with a much clearer view of your heart structure and identify any problems.

Functional MRI Scan

A functional MRI scan, typically abbreviated as an fMRI, will assess your brain activity and measure the blood flow to the brain. Your doctor may request a functional MRI scan to assess for a brain injury like a concussion or brain bleed. This type of MRI scan is commonly used to detect and measure degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. A functional MRI can also detect brain tumors or assess how your brain is activated if you struggle with epilepsy.

Musculoskeletal MRI Scan

A musculoskeletal MRI scan is common for reviewing injuries and illnesses that affect your musculoskeletal system, from bones and joints to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and even common injuries in young athletes. While an X-ray may not be able to detect more acute injuries like a hairline fracture, an MRI will provide a more detailed image of the affected area. This type of scan is also common in assessing the progression of arthritis and worn-down cartilage.

At AICA Orthopedics in Snellville, our team of chiropractors and multi-specialty doctors may recommend an MRI scan to get a clearer, more detailed understanding of how your injury or illness is impacting your body.