MRI of the ankle: that will show which is better?


Magnetic resonance imaging of the joints is widely used by traumatologists and rheumatologists, due to its high diagnostic accuracy. An additional advantage is the absence of negative effects on the body and reinvasions method. Where other diagnostic methods (ultrasound, x-rays) are ineffective or contraindicated for the patient, prescribe an MRI of the ankle.

The ankle joint is exposed to a constant high load, it participates in all the movements of the lower limb, taking the weight of the human body. Active sports, high-heeled shoes, trauma is not a complete list of reasons for the development of inflammatory and destructive processes in the ankle.

How to perform magnetic resonance imaging of the ankle?

The method is based on registration of the response pulses of protons from tissues of different density. Response tissue registers a device in the form of a contrast image on the film. Pulses of hydrogen atoms are evaluated in the conditions of strong electromagnetic field that is generated within the cylindrical capsule device, the capsule is placed.

The study takes twenty to forty minutes, the patient during the examination must be stationary lying on the back. After examination, the doctor conducts an analysis and description of the obtained data.

When the doctor sends the patient for an MRI?

The high cost of research, especially carried out with contrast, allows the use of MRI for the primary diagnosis of pathology of the ankle joint. In the initial stages of widely used x-ray and ultrasound. But these methods are not always able to visualize the pathology, especially in the early stages of the disease.

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If the ultrasound and x-rays do not allow to correlate them with the patient’s complaints or changes that shows the blood test, the doctor will prescribe additional research. As a rule, in this case, the prescribed MRI of the ankle joint.

Often, to perform an MRI recommended by the physician if treatment is assigned based on ultrasound or x-ray scans, does not lead to a positive trend.

What diseases can reveal the magnetic resonance imaging?

  • The injured ankle. Often the result of trauma with tearing of the fibers of the tendon which is not visible during x-ray examinations and ultrasound. MRI, by conducting a sequential scan of the structures of the ankle, allows to detect not only small damage to the ligamentous apparatus, but also to better diagnose complex intra-articular fractures and their complications. Complication of fracture can be hemorrhage into the joint cavity, as well as bruising and inflammation of the periarticular space.
  • Arthrosis and arthritis of the ankle joint. To diagnose the stage of an inflammatory or destructive process as the most effective method is MRI, which allows to estimate changes of the articular surfaces of cartilage and bone, the degree of infiltration and destruction. The condition of synovial fluid and the presence of salt deposits is also better visualize MRI.
  • Of the tumor. Malignant and benign MRI shows the early stages of the disease. To increase the diagnostic capacity of the method and also to make a differential diagnosis of malignancy allows the study with contrast. Magnetic resonance imaging allows not only to establish the presence of the tumor, but also to determine the extent of its spread beyond the joint, as well as metastasis.
  • Sclerotic changes in the joints after the trauma, as well as control of efficiency after surgery is also available MRI.
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  • The presence of metal structures on the body and metallic implants inside the human body. If the design and implants made of inert to the electromagnetic field of alloys, they do not interfere with the procedure. A limitation in this case will be metal elements on the investigated limb, because they can distort the MRI results.
  • Electronic devices and prostheses (artificial driver rhythm).
  • Severe claustrophobia and other mental illnesses that prevent stay in a confined space inside the MRI scanner. (You can use the device with open side surfaces, or to conduct research under anesthesia).
  • Tattoo.

How to prepare for the exam?

If the study is planned with the contrast, it is recommended to refrain from eating for five hours prior to the procedure. On clothes during the MRI should not be metal elements, otherwise it will have to be removed.

About the presence of stainless steel crowns on the teeth as well as braces and other metal devices must be reported to the doctor-the radiologist before the study.