Reasons Doctors Order MRI Scans, Part 1

MRI scans give your health care team a detailed look into your body, which helps them figure out what’s causing your symptoms. But why do doctors order MRI scans as opposed to, say, X-rays? What are the top conditions that lead a physician to refer a patient to the radiology clinic for an MRI scan?

The not-so-simple answer is that the list is always changing. Physicians and researchers are constantly coming up with new uses for MRI technology, as well as changes to the technology itself. That said, MRI scans are particularly good at creating images of soft tissues — tendons, blood vessels, ligaments, and so on. That makes them extremely good at revealing conditions related to those soft tissues.

Here are just a few of the top reasons doctors order MRI scans. Look for more in later posts.

MRI for Tennis Elbow

The official medical term for tennis elbow is “lateral epicondylitis,” but by any name, it’s a painful and even debilitating condition. MRI scans reveal visual abnormalities in the common extensor tendon that are associated with tennis elbow pain, even at early stages. Doctors may also order MRI scans to rule out conditions that cause similar pain, like injured elbow cartilage and arthritis.

MRI for Sports Injuries

Sports injuries can be difficult to pinpoint, but MRI scans can help physicians differentiate between common causes of muscle pain, including tears, contusions, and healing complications. Doctors often use MRI studies to help diagnose groin injuries, which are notoriously tough to identify.

MRI for Back Pain

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, most cases of low back pain don’t require diagnostic imaging. However, if you’ve recently been injured, or your doctor suspects some sort of intervertebral disk disease, they might order an MRI scan. Physicians may turn to MRI studies if your pain is chronic or severe, as well.

MRI for Degenerative Arthritis

Joint disorders, like degenerative arthritis, show up on MRI images more clearly than they do on most types of X-rays. Physicians use MRI scans to take a closer look at joints, cartilage, and ligaments.

MRI for Diseases of the Organs

Most of your vital organs are located in your chest and abdomen. Body MRI scans show these organs, including the heart, liver, kidneys, and bowel. These imaging studies can reveal diseases like cirrhosis of the liver and inflammatory bowel disease (among many, many more).

Low-Cost MRI Scans for the Whole Body

In the United States in 2017, patients received MRI scans at a rate of 111 per 1,000 residents. That’s more than one in 10. Clearly, the MRI scan is a fairly common diagnostic procedure, and patients shouldn’t get nervous just because a doctor orders one.

Of course, there’s always the issue of price. It’s true that MRI scans at hospitals are often expensive, and insurance may or may not foot the bill. That’s why offers an affordable cash price option, with or without insurance. Our network includes the same providers and equipment used by the hospitals, but with significantly lower costs to patients.

Call us at 888-322-7785 to schedule your next MRI scan today.