Bone and Joint MRI

Answer: Thank you for your question! Fortunately, many things besides a tumor can cause the sensation of discomfort and swelling. However, it is wise to get these symptoms evaluated by a physician, particularly if they have persisted for more than a few weeks. You are right that when there is localized swelling in the right lower abdomen, both the abdominal wall soft tissues and the intra-abdominal organs (such as the intestines) should be considered as a possible cause of your symptoms. MRI is better suited for assessing the abdominal wall (and the hip), while CT is more commonly used to evaluate the intra-abdominal organs. A primary care physician can usually differentiate problems originating from the abdominal wall and hip from those arising from deep inside the abdomen by physical exam and talking with you. If he or she feels it is appropriate, your primary care physician can then request (order) either a CT or MRI depending on what he or she believes is the source of your symptoms.

Answer: Thank you for contacting the Bone and Joint Imaging Ask an Expert Forum. Specific rates cannot be given on this website, as rates change frequently and are based partly on government reimbursement rates (Medicare), and also depend on the specific type of MRI, but you can get your rates in the following ways:

  • If you live in Harris County (Houston), you can apply for financial aid from the Harris County Hospital District at 713-566-6400 or hchdonline. The amount of aid you receive will depend on need, which you will describe in your application. Harris County medical facilities like LBJ Hospital are staffed by our UT experts, and the quality of imaging and image interpretations is at our high standards.
  • At Memorial Hermann –Texas Medical Center, you can call 877-704-8700. They will ask you specifics about the test ordered (part of the body to be imaged, whether you will need a contrast agent during the imaging) which your doctor can give you. At this number, you can ask what the self-pay rates would be. If you are scheduled for a procedure and insurance coverage is absent or inadequate, you can discuss payment options and rates when the facility calls you about the appointment.

A final thought – there is a good possibility that in addition to the imaging, you will be needing treatment for your knee problem which may become part of your total which will reach the deductible anyway. Your best bet in this case is to arrange for a payment plan that you can handle.

Answer: Thank you for contacting the Bone and Joint Ask an Imaging expert forum. Your question seems to be expressing confusion over why the foot doctor would tell you whatever was happening to your foot could not be treated surgically, but then refer you to see your GP for more information. I suspect that you missed a part of the doctor’s explanation of what was happening with your foot. Please know that you have a right to be given a complete explanation of all procedures that you have had done, in a language that you understand! Many people are a bit intimidated by their doctor, and either don’t ask a question they have, or don’t let the doctor know when they don’t hear or understand what the doctor has told them. Some things you can do for future doctor visits: bring someone along with you so that both of you hear the explanations; write your questions down and tell your doctor at the beginning that you have a list of questions; ask for an interpreter if English is not your native language; or just simply speak up and tell the doctor “I didn’t understand what you just said.” Your General Practitioner is the best person to help guide you to the right kind of treatment or set of treatments. If you do not have a general practitioner, you can find one of our excellent UT physicians on this website or by calling 1-888-488-3627.

Answer: Thank you for contacting the Bone and Joint Ask an Imaging Expert forum. Sorry to hear about your fall. We hope that you have gone for a good medical examination by now to make sure this is actually a case of a ligament injury, also known as a “sprain”, and not a more serious injury such as a fracture. This examination might have been at an emergency room soon after your fall, and typically includes an x-ray or CT scan of the area, or later, when the pain worsened. Occasionally, what you thought was a minor joint injury swells and becomes more painfull over the next 24 hours, especially if you continued to use the injured limb or didn’t elevate it and ice it right away. The focus of pain relief efforts is to prevent or decrease inflammation (swelling) caused by blood rushing to the injured area. This includes icing (not direct contact with skin but through a towel), rest and elevation of the ankle, and wrapping the ankle with an ace wrap (but not too tightly). You might also try anti-inflammatory medicines such as Motrin or Advil, if you are able to take these. You say that your knee is also painful. This could have happened during the same fall, but was not noticed due to the more urgent pain from the ankle, or could have happened after the injury, due to walking with poor alignment in order to protect the injured ankle. If you have been examined by a doctor before you realized the knee was also affected, you may want to notify him/her about this new symptom, although the treatments may be the same for both areas. If you still need to see a physician about this injury, please go to our website or call 1-888-488-3627.

Answer: Multiple imaging studies are tailored to the questions that are being asked. It is possible that the MRI pelvis study was tailored to a particular question, hence missing evaluation of the sacroiliac joint. A dedicated sacroiliac joint examination has more information than just a routine MRI pelvis. Also if the study was performed with IV contrast, could also make a difference.

In short the images have to be reviewed to make sure that the sacroiliac joints were included and have the appropriate information on them.

Answer: Unfortunately, it is difficult to comment on the question without images. The description is not extremely clear about what exact structure or portion of the image is being referred to. If you can provide any more information, we could probably offer a better answer. It is also important to correlate a patient’s symptoms and presentation with any imaging study.

Thank you for your question.