Victims of serious car accident injuries face extensive medical treatment. Doctors run diagnostic tests and procedures to determine the extent of the injuries sustained and how to treat them. Often, people who have been involved in car accidents are told they need an MRI for a doctor to fully assess the damage that a crash has caused.
What is an MRI?
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It uses magnets to gather a detailed reading of the inside of your body. It is commonly used to diagnose spinal damage after a traumatic event like a car accident, as well as provide detailed images of joint structure, the body’s soft tissues, and the brain.
Do I Need an MRI?
Whether or not you need an MRI is up to your doctor. If you are not healing sufficiently from your accident injuries and your doctor wants a better idea of what might be going on, he or she may request an MRI.
Pros and Cons of MRI’s:
While an MRI shows a detailed picture of your body’s soft tissues, it is not the right test for every injury, and it can be very expensive to get an MRI. Here are some pros and cons of having the procedure:
- MRI’s are painless procedures.
- When you have an MRI, you are not exposed to the kind of radiation you are exposed to when you undergo x-rays.
- MRI’s provide more detailed images than CT (Computed Tomography) scans, and see things an x-ray cannot see.
- MRI’s can be expensive, and cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500.
- While MRI’s show soft tissue and joint injuries extremely well, they are not as useful for gathering detailed information on bone problems.
- Anyone with a metallic implant in their body, such as a pacemaker, is unable to undergo an MRI.
What Injuries Will an MRI Reveal?
An MRI will identify soft tissue injuries such as disk herniations in the spine, trauma to the brain, and tears to cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. Since these procedures are expensive, they should only be used when other diagnostic tests and medical treatment cannot determine the extent of the injury. But if you have a broken leg, for instance, it is not necessary for an MRI to be performed to obtain detailed images of the fracture. A simply x-ray will suffice for broken bones.