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What is an extremity only MRI?

MRI is short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI's most commonly found in hospitals help health care providers see internal organs, blood vessels, muscles, joints, tumors, areas of infection, and more – with incredible clarity without the use of x-rays, surgery, or pain.

MRI most commonly scan the whole body regardless of the area of interest. The extremity only MRI machine only scans the part of the body that requires diagnostic imaging.

What can I expect to happen during my extremity only MRI scan?

The technologist will greet you and explain the process. You will be asked to remove any metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids, etc… A coil will be placed over your body part being scanned and you will be seated in a chair next to the MRI scanner in a comfortable position. 

Our technologist will be nearby where he or she will observe and communicate with you throughout your exam. You will not feel any discomfort during the procedure. You may be placed in different positions during the scan. Movement during the scan may affect the image quality so it is important that you remain comfortable and relaxed at all times.

How much radiation exposure is there in a MRI scan?

None. Unlike CT scans, which use x-rays to obtain images, MRI scanners use a magnetic field and radiowave pulses to generate images without any radiation exposure.

How long does a MRI scan take?

The length of time the scan takes depends on the part of the body and reason for your scan. A basic scan typically takes 30 to 45 minutes. Scans in additional positions will increase the length of time needed to perform the exam.

How much does a scan cost?

Extremity MRI strives to provide cost affordable scans to the public. Depending on the Extremity MRI location, an MRI scan can range between $550.00 to $750.00. This cost will be individualized depending on the site of the body and reason for the scan. The price is determined by the number of positions and length of time. An estimate can be provided in advance.

How should I get ready for my MRI scan?

In many cases, you can stick with your normal routine as no special preparation is needed. Eat and drink your usual diet, work, or play sports and take any prescription medications. There may be some situations where the clinic will give you specific instructions to follow before the exam. These will be clearly outlined for you if required.

What is the difference between an MRI, CT, and x-ray?

Each kind of imaging has a purpose. 

An MRI is the "pinnacle of imaging", it provides the greatest amount of detail without radiation. It shows detailed pictures of joints, soft tissues and bones. A X-ray is aimed at looking at just bones, it does not show soft tissue injuries or inflammation. A CT scan which is a three dimensional x-ray. Finally, an ultrasound that looks at blood flow. They all have different purposes.

Will extended medical benefits cover MRI exams?

The MRI scans at Extremity MRI, like other health services, are not insured services by the Medical Services Plan of BC.  

If your knee, wrist or other extremity is injured during work or a car crash and you need additional assessment of the injury speak with your health professional for referral and coverage through WorkSafeBC or ICBC.   

An Extended Health Benefit (EHB) plan you, your  employer, or an association you belong to will have information if that plan has MRI among your EHB benefits.  There will be a form or other information you should bring to your appointment if there is an EHB benefit.

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