In diagnosing arthritis, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan can be helpful. An MRI scan is a test that produces very clear pictures of the human body without the use of X-rays. MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce these images.
After a skiing injury 30 years ago, Bert Pepper, MD, got osteoarthritis in his left knee. "I stopped skiing and gave up tennis, running, and other sports that are tough on the knee," he says. "I turned to speed-walking to stay fit, but the knee kept me from walking at a good pace."
As his pain got worse and walking became harder, he looked into having a knee replacement. It's not a decision to make lightly, says Pepper, who is a psychiatrist. "It's a major life event. You have to be prepared to...
To track the progress of disease. In repeat scans, MRI can determine how fast the arthritis is progressing.
Is the MRI Exam Safe?
Yes. The MRI exam poses no risk to the average person if appropriate safety guidelines are followed. People who have had heart surgery and people with the following medical devices can be safely examined with MRI:
Allow two hours for your MRI exam. In most cases, the procedure takes 40 to 80 minutes and produces multiple images.
What Happens Before the MRI Exam?
Personal items such as your watch, wallet (including any credit cards with magnetic strips that can be erased by the magnet), and jewelry should be left at home if possible or removed prior to the MRI scan. Secured lockers are available to store personal possessions.