Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Shoulder
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test
done with a large machine that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave
energy to make pictures of the shoulder. Muscles,
cartilage, and other joint structures are best seen
with an MRI. In many cases MRI gives information about structures in the body
that can't be seen as well with an
For an MRI test, you are placed
inside the magnet so that your shoulder is inside the strong magnetic field.
MRI can find changes in the structure of organs or other tissues. It also can
find tissue damage or disease, such as infection or a tumor. Pictures from an
MRI scan are digital images that can be saved and stored on a computer for
further study. The images also can be reviewed remotely, such as in a clinic or
an operating room. Photographs or films of selected pictures can also be made.
In some cases, a
contrast material may be used during the MRI scan to
show certain structures more clearly in the pictures. The contrast material may
be used to check blood flow, find some types of tumors, and show areas of
inflammation or infection. The contrast material may be put in a vein (IV) in your arm or directly into your shoulder
You may be able to have an MRI with an open machine that doesn't enclose your entire body. But open MRI machines aren't available everywhere. The pictures from an open MRI may not be as good as those from a standard MRI machine .
Why It Is Done
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the
shoulder is done to:
- Check unexplained shoulder
- Find problems in the shoulder, such as
arthritis, bone tumors, worn-out cartilage, torn
ligaments, torn tendons, or infection. An MRI can detect tears in the cartilage
(labrum) in the shoulder. Labral tears often are caused
by injury and can lead to shoulder pain.
rotator cuff disorders, including tears and
MRI may also help diagnosis a bone fracture when X-rays
and other tests are not clear. MRI is done more commonly than other tests to
check for certain bone and joint problems.