What Is Upper Arm MRI?
An Upper Arm MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a painless radiology exam. This is performed to examine the upper arm or the humerus (the long bone that extends from the shoulder to the elbow) in a non-invasive manner. In this scan, multiple images of the bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues of the upper arm are generated using radio waves and a strong magnetic field.
The Upper Arm MRI helps doctors in examining pain in the upper arm, as well as detecting damage, infections, tumors, swelling, and other abnormalities around the upper arm.
In some cases, the MRI of the Upper Arm is done with the use of contrast material (dye) that is injected into the veins. When the contrast material is used, the blood vessels are seen more clearly in the scanned images.
Note: A stand-up MRI machine is different than a traditional doughnut-shaped closed MRI machine. The stand-up MRI machine does not completely surround the body and is open on three sides. In a stand-up MRI scan, instead of lying in a narrow tunnel of traditional MRI machine, a patient can either stand in a weight-bearing position or can sit or lean in the position of symptom or pain.
The stand-up MRI scan is recommended for patients who are afraid of closed places (feel claustrophobic). It is also recommended for patients who are big in shape and size as it becomes difficult for them to fit in the traditional closed MRI machines.
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What Symptoms Should I Have to Get an Upper Arm MRI?
Your doctor will recommend an upper arm MRI only if you have one or more of the following ailments or symptoms because any delay could lead to serious conditions:
- Experienced an acute trauma or injury to your upper arm
- Continuing pain, weakness, swelling, stiffness, or numbness upper arm
- A suspected fracture
- A suspected dislocated joint
What Will My Doctor Find out from an Upper Arm MRI?
An MRI of the Upper Arm will help your doctor:
- Find the cause of common signs or symptoms such as pain, tenderness, swelling, and deformity in the upper arm.
- Detect broken bones (fractures) or dislocated joints.
- Detect cysts, tumors, and other diseases in the bones.
- Assess for suspected osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone caused by an infection).
- Locate and understand injuries or degenerative diseases that affect one or both upper arms such as:
- Osteoarthrosis (flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (painful swelling in the joints of the hand)
- Monitor the growth of bone in the hand because if you have a metabolic disorder or a nutritional deficiency, your bones may not grow properly.
- Plan for hand surgery and to assess the results of the operation.
- Determine whether a bone is in proper alignment and if it has healed completely after a broken bone has been set.
Your doctor may also ask you to take the Forearm MRI to confirm the diagnosis for abnormalities such as cysts or tumors. Your doctor may even recommend the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) test to understand the overall status of your metabolism. Depending on the results, your doctor will confirm the diagnosis and plan your treatment.
How Is an Upper Arm MRI Performed?
- Before starting the Upper Arm MRI, you will have to remove all the metal objects on your body, including eyeglasses, jewelry, hairpins, and dentures.
- A technologist will ask you to stand up, sit down, or lean on your back with arms at your side on a stand-up MRI scanner table.
- The technologist will then place a special coil device that improves image quality around your arm or part of your arm.
- The scanner table will then move back slowly into the stand-up MRI machine.
- Once you are inside the MRI machine, multiple images of your upper arm will be taken, and these will be displayed on a monitor.
- At certain points during the scan, the technologist will ask you to hold your breath for 10 to 12 seconds. Make sure you don’t move during the scan as any movement can blur the images.
In case your doctor has asked you to take a upper arm MRI with contrast, then contrast dye will be injected into your vein shortly after an initial series of scans. Additional images will be taken following the injection.
What Should I Expect After Completing an Upper Arm MRI?
- If contrast dye was used during your scan, then you may be kept under observation to check for any side effects or reactions to the contrast dye. These include swelling, rash, itching, or trouble breathing.
- In case there is any pain, redness, or swelling at the IV site after you go home, tell your doctor immediately. This could be a type of reaction or sign of infection.
- Otherwise, there are no restrictions placed upon you after taking the test. You can go back to your regular activities like driving and eating regular food unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
How Long Does an Upper Arm MRI Take?
An MRI of the Upper Arm is usually completed between 45 to 60 minutes.
Is Radiation Involved in an Upper Arm MRI?
No. An MRI is a painless imaging test that doesn’t use radiation.
Are There Any Risks in Taking an Upper Arm MRI?
- People who have implants such as a cardiac pacemaker, coronary stent, orthopedic rods, and plates, which contain metal, may face certain risks. The magnets used in an MRI can make implanted pins or screws move in the body or cause problems with pacemakers.
- Some people might also have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used in an MRI.
When Will I Receive My Results?
Once the Upper Arm MRI is completed, you will receive your results within 3-5 business days in your LabFinder portal.
How Should I Prepare for an Upper Arm MRI?
Please refer to the simple preparation guidelines given below or consult with your doctor or radiology center where you are being treated. Do not forget to bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.
- Book and manage your personal health records
- Feel organized — keep your results in one place
- Save money — avoid surprise medical bills
How it Works
- Select your test & location
- Visit your appointment
- Access and share your test results any time