MRI Imaging: What You Should Know, And Ask

In today’s healthcare climate, patients are increasingly responsible for out-of-pocket costs for many tests and procedures that are recommended as part of their treatment. In orthopedics, our specialists rely on diagnostic imaging, such as x-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), to better diagnose and treat orthopedic conditions.

As a patient or caregiver, you should be aware that the MRI facility you and your physician choose matters, in both quality and value of the images used for your treatment.

Not All MRIs Are Created Equal

MRI studies not only help physicians diagnose patients, they help orthopedic surgeons plan for surgery, should that be needed. High quality imaging is vital to this process, and not all MRI equipment or programs produce a high quality image or study for your specialist.

As a patient you should ask these questions to ensure the quality of MRI services:

  • Which MRI imaging program is your surgeon recommending? Often this surgeon will be the one diagnosing and treating from the results of that study, so he or she has to be confident in this choice.
  • Is the MRI program accredited by the American College of Radiology?
  • What are the costs associated with my MRI scan? Be sure to check with your insurance company to see if you are in network with the imaging center, and compare costs with hospital-based imaging centers.
  • Does the program offer you convenient hours on evenings and the weekends?

MRI Services at EmergeOrtho: the Best for Our Patients

A main reason EmergeOrtho has remained an independent private medical practice is to have more control over costs and quality for our patients. When we looked at how we could introduce MRI services that add quality, efficiency and value for our patients, we recognized that mobile MRI imaging would meet those goals.

In the fall of 2017, EmergeOrtho added another top-of-the-line Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner that gives our patients access to this advanced imaging seven days a week, as well as many evenings, in their choice of four New Hanover County and Brunswick County locations:

Patients may make an appointment for an MRI based on the most convenient location to their home or office, or choose location by the day of the week that suits them best. Our Shipyard Boulevard office is the one location that offers appointments every weekday in our Imaging Center, plus in the mobile unit on Saturdays and Sundays.

The new mobile unit is clinically equal to the one at our Imaging Center on Shipyard Boulevard, as both units have a 1.5 GE Tesla Magnet and are operated by highly skilled and certified technologists providing the same level of care.

An additional benefit for our patients, EmergeOrtho’s office-based MRI scans are typically a more affordable alternative to hospital-based imaging centers.

How MRI Works

MRI is one of the most utilized diagnostic imaging techniques, allowing physicians to detect abnormalities in the musculoskeletal system without the use of radiation.

Through radio waves and a strong magnetic field, MRI scans the body and generates detailed images of areas that cannot be seen as well with other types of imaging technology, such as x-rays, CT scans and ultrasounds. MRI is especially useful in orthopaedic medicine, as it allows providers to see past bones to the inside of muscles, tendons, cartilage and ligaments. Physicians can detect and diagnose many sports injuries, such as torn knee ligaments, torn rotator cuffs, hip/pelvis problems and herniated disks, as well as tumors, strokes and aneurysms.

MRI with contrast speaks to the use of gadolinium, a material used in some MRI scans. It enhances the quality of the images and is less likely to create an allergic reaction compared to the iodine-based contrast agents used for x-ray and CTs. In fact, patients undergoing MRI very rarely experience side effects of any type.

To learn more about EmergeOrtho’s MRI services, call 910.332.1533.