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What to Expect from Your Open MRI Scan

doctor explains MRI procedure to patientOpen MRI machines are designed to offer patients as much comfort as possible while still delivering accurate readings. However, the best way to make a procedure more comfortable is to learn what to expect.

A Different Design

You’ve likely seen traditional MRI machines on TV or perhaps even been scanned by one in the past. They look like large tubes; the patient is instructed to remain still as they slide inside and the machine makes loud noises around them.

Open MRIs are different. Rather than going inside a closed tube, the patient lays down in an open enclosure. This set up is great for larger patients who do not fit easily into traditional MRI. Likewise, it’s ideal for patients who become anxious in tight spaces or need additional supervision during the process.

Getting Your MRI

During the procedure, you will rest on a cushioned table. This table slides into the open MRI machine’s large opening, leaving plenty of space around you. You will not be closed in at any point; there is always airflow and a clear line of sight available. The lab staff will monitor you throughout the examination and communicate with you through a speaker system. Depending on your needs, the MRI will likely take between 20 to 50 minutes.

What You Need to Know About Strokes

portrait of thoughtful middle aged man outdoorsDo you know enough about strokes to recognize the symptoms – and potentially save a life? May is Stroke Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to learn more. The first thing you need to understand is that strokes are serious; they are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and often leave survivors disabled.

There are two types of strokes, both of which can be seen with an open MRI machine. The first and more common version is an ischemic stroke, which occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain. The second version is a hemorrhagic stroke, which is when a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain. To prevent irreversible brain damage and death, it’s crucial to act fast when you suspect you or someone else is experiencing a stroke.

Learn These Stroke Symptoms

  • Watch out for these warning signs:
  • Sudden Numbness/Weakness in the Face or Limbs (Especially on One Side)
  • Sudden Confusion or Difficulty with Language
  • Sudden Difficulty Seeing
  • Sudden Dizziness, Loss of Balance, or Difficulty Walking
  • Sudden Severe Headache with No Known Cause

When you notice one or more of these red flags, don’t wait for the symptoms to get worse or go away. Call 911 right away – you may save a life.

How to Prevent Sports Injuries

woman lacing sneakersSports injuries can happen at any time, to any athlete, but there are steps you can take to prevent sports injuries during practice and on game day.

Warm Up and Cool Down – It is essential to warm your muscles up slowly before beginning any activity. A short jog or some jumping jacks before stretching and before hitting the court keeps muscles flexible. They will be better able to meet the demands of your sport. Likewise, cooling down after an activity helps you maintain flexibility. Stopping an activity suddenly can lead to stiff muscles that are more prone to injury.

Stretching – Stretching before and after playing a sport helps keep your muscles flexible. Jumping into an activity cold leaves you prone to injuries.

Flexibility – We’ve mentioned that warm-ups and stretching are essential for keeping you flexible, but there are other activities you can do. Simply going to a yoga class when you’re taking a rest day can help your body tremendously.

Rest Days – Don’t push yourself too hard. Take rest days at least one or twice a week to let your body recover. Working out nonstop can put you at risk for overuse injuries.

Listen to Your Body – If you are in pain, or not feeling well, do not play sports. Your body is telling you that something is wrong, and failing to listen to those signals can cause serious harm. Always listen to your body and let it rest when it needs to.

Middletown Imaging has multiple diagnostic tests that we can use to diagnose a sports injury, including digital X-Ray imaging. Make an appointment with our radiologists today by calling 732-275-0999 or booking online.

Examining the Ligaments of the Knee

kneeYour knee joint is the largest joint in your body, located at the conjunction of the femur and the tibia. The muscles surrounding the knee are responsible for its movement, while the ligaments are responsible for keeping the joint stable and adding strength. The four ligaments in your knee that connect the leg bones are:

ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) – This ligament is located in front of the knee joint. Its responsibility is to prevent your shin bone from sliding too far forward during activities like running and jumping. ACL tears are a common injury in sports, especially basketball.

PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) – The PCL sits opposite the ACL, behind the knee joint. This ligament prevents the shinbone from moving too far backward.

MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) – The Medial Collateral Ligament resides on the inside of your knee joint, preventing the knee from bending inward. This ligament is very thick, and rarely requires surgery when it tears.

LCL (Lateral Collateral Ligament) – The PCL is on the outside of your joint, opposite the MCL. This ligament prevents your knee from bending outward.

Knee Ligament Injuries – When you experience trauma to your knee, the ligaments can tear. You may feel a popping sensation and instability when standing. Loss of range of motion, pain, and swelling, are also common in ligament tears.

An open MRI machine like the one at Middletown Imaging can be used to diagnose ligament tears in your knee. Make an appointment today at 732-275-0999 or book online.

Signs of a Traumatic Brain Injury

scans of the spineYour spinal discs are like little cushions between each vertebra, absorbing shock and enabling flexibility in the spine. Sometimes problems with these discs can arise, resulting in back pain.

Disc Protrusion – A disc protrusion is also known as a bulging disc. Minimal disc bulging is completely normal and usually not a cause for concern. The disc will bulge outward slightly but does not rupture. This only becomes a problem when the bulge pushes on the nerve bundle and causes pain.

Disc Prolapse – A disc prolapse occurs when the disc bulges to the point where only a few fibers are holding the soft jelly-like interior inside of the disc. Further injury can result in a ruptured disc.

Disc Extrusion – A disc extrusion occurs when the nucleus of the disc has escaped but remains connected to the main structure of the disc. This can cause significant pain when the nucleus presses on the nerve bundles in the spine.

Sequestered Disc – A sequestered disc is also known as a herniated disc. This is when parts of the disc, both the exterior and jelly-like interior, have been pushed out of the spine completely. This can be extremely painful and irritate the spinal nerves.

If you are experiencing back pain, visit our imaging center in NJ to investigate the root of your pain. An open MRI may reveal that a problem with your spinal disc may be to blame. Book an appointment with our radiology specialists online or call Middletown Medical Imaging at 732-275-0999.

Signs of a Traumatic Brain Injury

human head and brainMarch is brain injury awareness month, so we would like to take the time to talk about this issue as a way to de-stigmatize brain injuries and empower those living with brain conditions. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can happen to anyone. Whether it is the result of a car crash or it happens after a particularly forceful blow in a sports game, brain injuries occur quickly, and the effects last a lifetime. With the technology we have today, like our open MRI scanner, we can detect brain injuries before they become life-threatening. Here are a few things to look out for if you suspect that someone you know has suffered a TBI.

Rapid Changes in Mood – Rapid changes in mood or personality after a blow to the head are one of the first signs of a TBI. If they are no longer acting like themselves following an accident, they may be suffering from a brain bleed. Traumatic brain injuries are linked to depression and irritability.

Poor Balance and Motor Skills – The brain is the center of balance and cognitive abilities in your body, so brain damage can alter a person’s sense of balance. If you notice that the person is off balance and exhibiting poorer motor skills following an injury, they could be dealing with a TBI.

Continuous Vomiting or Nausea Following an Injury – Nausea, and vomiting are symptomatic of a TBI and occur almost immediately following the injury. They can also happen afterward if the brain continues to swell.

If someone you know has suffered a blow to the head, it is important to have them seen by a medical professional as soon as possible to minimize any potential damage to their brain. If the TBI is caught early enough, doctors can prevent additional damage from occurring. If you need a scan of your brain done, book online or call Middletown Medical Imaging at 732-275-0999.

What You Need to Know about LCL Injuries

knee painThe knee joint is made up of four ligaments: the ACL, MCL, PCL, and LCL. The LCL (lateral collateral ligament) connects the femur to the fibula and prevents excessive side-to-side movement of the joint. It is located on the outside of the knee joint.

LCL Injuries

Your LCL can become injured when your knee bends too far inwards. An LCL tear is most commonly the result of a sports injury or other traumatic injury like a fall. LCL injuries, and all other ligament injuries are diagnosed according to a graded scale. Grade I is the least severe, and Grade III is the most severe.

  • Grade I LCL Tear – You will feel some pain and pressure on the outside of the knee with a grade I LCL tear. The ligament is only slightly torn, so you may be able to walk on it.
  • Grade II LCL Tear – A grade II LCL injury is an incomplete tear and may cause some instability in the joint when you pivot. Pain and swelling of the knee are common with a grade II tear.
  • Grade III LCL Tear – A grade III LCL injury is a complete tear of the ligament, which may be combined with injuries to the cruciate ligaments (the ACL and MCL). A grade III LCL tear causes pain, swelling, and difficulty bending the knee. This type of injury typically requires surgery.

Diagnosing LCL Injuries

When you injure your knee, your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination to determine if you have a ligament tear. An MRI is then needed to determine the grade of the injury and to see if any other ligaments have been torn in conjunction with the LCL.

When you need an open MRI on your knee, visit Middletown Medical Imaging. Call us to schedule an appointment at 732-275-0999 or book online.

Bulging and Herniated Discs – What You Need to Know

radiologist showing patient MRI of her spineSpinal discs are cartilaginous cushions located between the vertebrae in your spine. These discs are designed to absorb shock and allow your spine to bend and rotate. Everyday wear in tear or injuries can cause these discs to become damaged, resulting in pain in your back and legs.

Disc Bulges

A disc bulge is precisely what it sounds like. It occurs when the disc is bulging outward from the spine, but it doesn’t protrude outward enough to qualify as a herniated disc. You may not feel pain from a bulging disc, but it can cause pain when the bulging is significant enough to press on the nerves in your spine.

Disc bulges are an extremely common occurrence, even in healthy young people. Most radiologists will note this as an incidental finding, but it is usually not a cause for concern. You can have bulging discs and not have any back pain symptoms at all. When you get an MRI on your spine, the radiologist will be able to determine if the bulging disc is a problem or if it is normal.

Herniated Discs

Also referred to as ruptured discs, herniated discs occur when the disc bursts open. Pressure on the disc, over time or as the result of a trauma, can cause it to rupture, which can be extremely painful. Treatment options for herniated discs range from physical therapy and medication to spinal surgery, depending on the severity of the injury.

When you need a spinal MRI, visit Middletown Medical Imaging. We offer an open MRI machine for your comfort. Schedule an appointment at 732-275-0999 or book online today.

Who Benefits from an Open MRI?

patient in hospital gownWhen you need an MRI, you may be feeling nervous for a variety of different reasons. At Middletown Medical Imaging, we offer an open MRI for our patients’ comfort. Choosing an open MRI over a traditional closed MRI can have a lot of benefits for certain people who are unable to use a traditional MRI.

Claustrophobic Patients – Putting a claustrophobic patient in an enclosed space for a medical scan is a safety risk for the patient, so we want to avoid that at all costs. It is very important that patients are as comfortable as possible during the scan because they will be required to be still. An open MRI allows the patient to remain calm.

Patients with Mobility Issues – Some MRI scans will require patients to shift position during the scan, but for someone with mobility issues, this can be difficult or impossible. With an open MRI, a nurse can access the patient to move them into the necessary position without difficulty.

Large Patients – Traditional MRIs are pretty narrow, which can make it impossible for some patients to fit in the machine. An open MRI has a much larger capacity, allowing patients of all sizes to get an MRI.

Everyone – An open MRI is much more comfortable than a closed one, which is a benefit to every patient. When you need an MRI, book an appointment with Middletown Medical Imaging online or call our office at 732-275-0999.

About our Hitachi Airis Elite Open MRI

hitachi airis elite open mri machineMiddletown Medical Imaging is proud to use the latest technology at our facility to provide the highest quality imaging services available. One of our most advanced devices is the Hitachi Airis Elite open MRI machine, which features capabilities that were previously impossible with an open low-field MRI. Here are just some of the benefits of using the Hitachi Airis Elite for scans.

Rapid Parallel Imaging – Rapid parallel imaging capabilities make the Hitachi Airis Elite more efficient; meaning scans take less time while still producing high-resolution images. With this machine, you can get your test done and return to normal life more quickly, knowing that your scan results will be accurate.

Non-Claustrophobic Atmosphere – Open MRI’s are an excellent option for claustrophobic and anxious patients because you do not have to be put in an enclosed space. Imaging tests are much more relaxing in the open design of our Hitachi machine.

Accommodating for All Patients – Because of its open design, the Hitachi Airis Elite can accommodate larger patients and patients with disability issues. Many people cannot use a traditional closed MRI because of their size or their mobility needs, so the Hitachi open MRI is an excellent solution.

Choice of Comforting Music – When you come in for an MRI, you can select soothing music to play to make your scan go more smoothly for you.

Make an appointment for your open MRI today at 732-275-0999 or book online.