Should I get an X-Ray, MRI, or CT Scan for my Injury?

Every patient is different as well as every injury. The way people injure themselves, the condition of the affected area prior to injury, as well as the patient’s response to injury are all factors in assessing the damage as well as creating a plan for the restoration of the area. If you have obtained an injury you feel is beyond the scope of your own curative abilities, you should speak to your doctor about scheduling a procedure that will be best able to determine the extent of the damage and after you and your physician can discuss plans to heal and avoid further injury. Here are a list of common medical procedures that your doctor may schedule for you in order to determine the degree of injury.

The X-Ray

An X-Ray is usually the first procedure a doctor will schedule for an injury, particularly sports-related. X-rays are some of the oldest and most used forms of medical imaging. X-rays are common procedures for joint and bone fractures and breaks. X-rays are also used for examining arthritic joints and determining the location and condition of cancer cells in the bones. X-ray procedures are totally painless and just require the patient to lay very still for the length of the imaging as the slightest involuntary movement can distort the image and the procedure will have to be restarted. Getting an X-ray will be the fastest way to determine if there has been a bone break, dislocation or fracture.

An MRI Scan

Your doctor may also order an MRI scan if the injury cannot be properly determined from an X-ray or if your injury pertains to any of the joint, muscular or skeletal systems of the body. An MRI scan would be particularly helpful if your injury has caused any type of vascular problem such as internal bleeding or clotting or if there is soft tissue damage. MRI scans are useful in determining any overall damage from an injury beyond what an X-ray can relate. MRI scans contain a minute amount of pain from intravenous injection of contrast material but nothing further. Contrast material will not have a reaction in the body excluding a slight cool sensation unless the patient has an allergy to iodine. .

A CT Scan

Your doctor may also order a CT scan for an injury. Do not be confused if your doctor orders a few tests for you. It does not necessarily indicate an extreme amount of physical damage, your doctor could just be trying to get the best angles and images in order to make the most thorough diagnosis, and by extension the best medical plan for mending your injury. Your doctor may order you a CT scan if he particularly worried about tissue damage. CT scans using contrast material are able to create cross-sectional images of organs and tissues as well as highlighting which are healthy and which are not. CT scans are relatively painless as well, excluding the pinprick of the IV needle, but in some cases the contrast material is swallowed to outline the digestive system.

Make the Choice

If you have an injury that cannot be helped by over the counter medications and naturalistic healing methods, you should speak to your doctor about ordering some of these procedures because a serious injury left unattended can become a much more harmful problem. Without proper medical attention and testing, a slight injury can morph into a complex affliction. Even with injuries that feel minimal in pain should be examined by a doctor in order to avoid further complications and injury to the area. The advances in medical technology have provided us with the tools and resources to make better choices concerning patient experience and healing.

Making a decision today? Just click here to schedule your medical imaging appointment in New Orleans.

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