Every year, about 10 million people undergo an MRI scan. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. The test uses strong magnets to create pictures of your internal workings. Unlike X-rays which can only reveal dense matter, like bones and some tumors, an MRI can show more detail about your bones, soft tissue, and organs.
If you’ve fractured your leg, our team might recommend an MRI to get more information about your injury. At St. Michael’s Elite Hospital in Sugar Land, Texas, we have comprehensive radiology services. Here’s what to expect if you come in for a leg fracture MRI.
An X-ray may show that you have a fracture, but it may not show as much detail as our team would like to create an appropriate treatment plan. An MRI can also help if the X-ray showed abnormal findings. You may also need an MRI if your leg fracture has been treated with casting and rest but doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
A stress fracture is a tiny crack in a bone that causes pain but can’t always be seen on an X-ray. These overuse injuries often happen in the weight-bearing areas of the foot or leg. An MRI can give our team a better image when we suspect a stress fracture. An MRI is considered the best way to evaluate a stress fracture injury. It can even show that you’re at risk of a stress fracture before one actually forms.
If you’re not sure why you need an MRI for a leg fracture, talk to our team before your appointment. Ask us to explain the reasoning behind the diagnostic imaging.
You should refrain from eating for about four hours before your test. Talk to our team before your test if you struggle with a fear of closed spaces. We can provide you with medication to help ease anxiety.
Be sure to warn our team if you have a pacemaker or heart defibrillator, cochlear implants, kidney disease, certain types of artificial heart valves, an artificial joint, or work with metal. You’ll be given a questionnaire before the test that asks about these and other possible contraindications.
You cannot wear or carry any metal into the MRI screening either. Metal interferes with the clarity of images.
You’ll change into a hospital gown and lie on a narrow table that slides into the scanner tube. During the MRI, our technician watches you from another room. The test usually lasts 30-60 minutes.
You won’t feel any pain during the exam, but you do need to lie still to provide clear imaging. When the MRI runs, it makes loud thumping and humming noises. We offer earplugs and special headphones to limit some of the noise. You speak to the technician through an intercom.
The test requires no downtime. You can eat, go back to work, and exercise immediately afterward.
If you need an MRI for a fractured leg, contact St. Michael’s Elite Hospital to schedule an appointment.