Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis of the Joints is one of the common condition responsible for pain in the Knee and Hip Joints. Other problems of the joints are caused due to traumatic injuries while indulging in some sort of physical activity or sporting activity. Ligament Tears are quite common in the joints. MRI of the Joints is the gold standard for comprehensive diagnosis of the joint problems. In MRI investigation a coil is placed around the part which needs to be scanned. For this reason, both the hips can be scanned simultaneously by wrapping a flex coil around the pelvic region but the other body joints cannot be scanned simultaneously. Best results would be achieved when both the knees or ankles are scanned separately even though the cost in such a situation would double. X-Rays or CT Scan are alternatives to MRI but the results are not as good as an MRI scan. MRI is good for both the bones and soft tissue imaging. MRI has another advantage of not containing any harmful radiation but the cost of MRI can be a prohibitive factor for many people.
Conditions which are diagnosed in MRI Joints Scanning are :
ACL / PCL Tear in the Knee Joint
Laberal Tear in the Hip Joint
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Rotator Cuff Injury
Most of the MR Studies for Joints are non-contrast studies and can be done at any time of the day with prior appointment. However if the doctor is suspecting cancer then contrast imaging might be required. During the MRI exam, you would be in a room which has strong magnetic field. You should not be wearing any jewellery and should inform the technician if you have any kind of implant inside your body. In any case our technician would be checking you with a metal detector before taking you inside the magnet room. The study would take around 15-30 minutes to complete.
You are advised to leave your mobile phone, wallet and all clothes inside a locker which is provided to you. You would be given a hospital gown to wear for the test. There is a humming sound which resembles the sound of a running train while the exam is going on. You would be given ear plugs to minimize this sound. You would be required to go inside a cylinderical tunnel and lie still while the exam is going on. On completion of the test, you can change into your own clothes and leave for your home. The MRI Joint exam will produce several hundred images which will be reviewed by the radiologist and the report would be made available within 24 hours of the scanning.
MRI Machines are of two types - Permanent Magnet and Superconducting Magnet. The Permanent Magnet MRI or Open MRI as it is called comes in two strengths - 0.2 Tesla and 0.3 Tesla. The Superconducting Magnet comes in strengths of 1.5 Tesla and 3.0 Tesla. Tesla is the unit for magnetic strength. The common belief is that higher the Tesla, better is the imaging quality but this is not the case. Higher magnetic strength can produce greater noise and result in lower signal to noise ratio. MRI of the Brain, Joints and Spine can be done equally well on a 0.3 Tesla Permanent Magnet as it is done on a 1.5 Tesla Magnet. However inner ear imaging is best done on a 3 Tesla MRI. Many doctors would prescribe MRI scan on a 3 Tesla Machine without knowing the difference in imaging quality. The quality of imaging also depends on the quality of coils, channels in the machine and specialized applications for doing the scanning. Finally the quality of reporting is of paramount importance in any MRI Imaging. At Bharat Diagnostics we have the optimum combination of all these factors. We have all types of machines at different centres. So patients who are claustrophobic, are advised to get their MRI on open magnet of 0.3 Tesla. Patients who require extensive testing like MRI brain and whole spine would do better to go for 3 Tesla as the imaging time is lesser.
The cost of MRI Single Joint at our centres is in the range of Rs. 7000 - 7500. If contrast is needed then additional amount of Rs. 3500 - 3700 is charged for the test.
Dr Rajesh Choudhary has more than 20 years of experience in the field of Radiology. Dr Choudhary has been trained in the latest radiological techniques from Sardar Patel Medical College, Bikaner and PGI Chandigarh.
Dr Shruti Sangwan has been trained at Lady Hardinge Medical College, Maulana Azad Medical College, PGI Chandigarh and Artemis Hospital Bhiwadi in the field of Radiology and has more than 18 years of experience.