Rotator Cuff MRI – The Key To Diagnosing Shoulder Rotator Cuff Problems

A rotator cuff MRI is a test that provides a doctor an opportunity to look inside the shoulder rotator cuff area. This internal image is used in diagnosing exactly what is wrong with the joint. It is an extremely specialized task to determine exactly what the image reveals.

What does MRI stand for?

So, what is a MRI scan? MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It is a fairly new technique developed during the 1980’s. It uses magnetic and radio waves so unlike Xray there is no exposure to radiation.

What does a rotator cuff tear MRI show?

A MRI scanner makes it possible to obtain images of almost all the tissue in the body. The tissue that has the least number of hydrogen atoms, such as bone, shows up as a dark colour. Tissue with a lot of hydrogen atoms, such as fatty tissue, show up as a much brighter area.

It is possible by altering frequencies of the waves to obtain a very detailed picture of the tissue types that are present. A very accurate view of how exactly how the internal tissues are arranged can be produced. Rotator cuff MRI scans can allow internal pictures to be taken from almost any angle. If you ever wondered just what does torn rotator cuff look like? A MRI will show you.

Given that no surgical procedure is now required to “look at” the inside of the shoulder joint. Diagnosis of many of the common cuff injuries can now be made safely and accurately. It seems that rotator cuff tears and MRI scans were made for each other.

Is a MRI scan dangerous?

There are no side effects or known dangers associated with any MRI scans. It is not painful and you can not feel the effects of the scan. The only concern is if you are in any way claustrophobic; you may feel uncomfortable in a confined space.

It is important however to comply with all instructions and read the declarations carefully. Since you will be laying inside a giant magnet all jewellery must be removed. Be especially careful if you have had metal fragments in your eyes at any time. Staff should be informed of pacemaker’s, hearing aids etc.

A MRI scanner can be quite loud with a banging noise so ear defenders are often provided and should be worn.

How does a MRI scanner work?

A MRI scanner is basically a large cylinder shaped magnet. Your role, as the patient, is simply to lie, as still as possible, inside of it.

Your body is made up mainly of water and therefore contains a lot of hydrogen atoms. It is these hydrogen atoms that the MRI scanner uses to produce an image. So what exactly happens?

Radio waves up to 30000 times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field are sent through the body. This affects body’s atoms and forces the nuclei into a different position. As the nuclei move back into position the nuclei send out there own radio waves. It is these waves that the scanner picks up and analyses. A computer then turns them into an image which gives an internal view of the body.

A rotator cuff MRI is an invaluable diagnostic tool. Join me to discover more.