Shoulder MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the shoulder uses strong magnetic fields to produce detailed, high-resolution images, that help your doctor diagnose the cause of pain or disabling symptoms in your shoulder.

Shoulder MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the shoulder uses strong magnetic fields to produce detailed, high-resolution images, that help your doctor diagnose the cause of pain or disabling symptoms in your shoulder.

What is a shoulder MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the shoulder uses strong magnetic fields to produce detailed, high-resolution, images of the bones, tendons, muscles, and blood vessels in and around the shoulder. It is useful to help your doctor diagnose the cause of pain or disabling symptoms in your shoulder.

Why would my doctor refer me to have a shoulder MRI? keyboard_arrow_down

A shoulder MRI can help your doctor to characterise and diagnose a variety of medical conditions, including the causation of shoulder pain, sports related injuries, bone fractures not visible on other imaging tests, tumours of the bone and adjacent soft tissues and occasionally when there is persistent pain after surgery. 

Doctors may also request a shoulder MRI if surgery is contemplated to help plan or to determine the suitability of a surgical procedure.

How do I prepare for a shoulder MRI? keyboard_arrow_down

Because MRI uses strong magnetic fields, it is essential to review your medical history prior to undertaking an MRI and be sure to discuss with your doctor and inform them if you have any metal containing implants, aneurysm clips, pins, plates, screws, staples within your body, prosthetic joints or limbs, artificial heart valves or stents. It is also important to tell us if you have a history of a metallic foreign body in your eye.  

You’ll need to remove all jewellery and piercings prior to undertaking the scan and change into a hospital gown. We also advise not to put on make-up on the day of the examination as some of them can contain metallic products.

If you have any known allergies, make sure to mention these to your doctor. If you suffer from claustrophobia, discuss this with your doctor also, as they may be able to prescribe anti-anxiety medication to help.

What happens during a shoulder MRI? keyboard_arrow_down

You will be directed to lie down on a bench, which slides you into place within a tunnel that is positioned in the middle of the bore of the MRI machine. 

In some cases, a contrast agent will be injected, by your doctor or a nurse, into one of your veins or sometimes into the shoulder joint to enhance the images seen on the MRI. 

Once the scan begins, the machine makes some loud banging noises while imaging is occurring. You will either be offered ear plugs to wear or instead can wear headphones to listen to music while the scan is underway. 

The scan is completely painless, and you will be directed by a technician throughout the process.

How long does a shoulder MRI take? keyboard_arrow_down

A shoulder MRI usually takes 30-45 minutes to complete.

Are there any risks to having an MRI? keyboard_arrow_down

MRI scans do not use ionising radiation, unlike other types of medical scans such as X-rays and CT. An MRI scan, is therefore considered a safer alternative, particularly for individuals that might be at higher risk, such as pregnant women.  

There are no documented side effects from the radio waves and magnets used during the scan.  

Some metal containing implants can move or heat up due to the strong magnetic fields. For this reason, it’s particularly important to discuss your medical history with your doctor. While it is rare for people to experience an allergic reaction to the contrast agent used in some MRIs, be sure to mention any known allergies to your doctor also. 

What are the benefits of a shoulder MRI? keyboard_arrow_down

MRI is an invaluable and safe imaging modality that aids in the diagnosis, monitoring, or exclusion of a wide range of conditions already mentioned. MRI is the only test that can simultaneously give high resolution images of the bone marrow, cartilage and muscle and tendons associated with the shoulder joint.

How do I get my results? keyboard_arrow_down

After your scan is completed, a specialised doctor, called a radiologist, will review, and interpret the images taken and create a formal report. The report will then be sent to your referring doctor, along with the images, which your doctor may already have access to using one of I-MED's online report and image platforms.  

In some cases, it can take up to a week or more to receive all results from your MRI. 

It is important that you arrange an appointment with your doctor once the results are ready so they can explain what the results mean and can plan the next step in your care.  

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