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Low Cost, High Quality, Open MRI Scans
at Heath Lodge Clinic, Solihull, West Midlands
The insured cost for scanning a single area of the body can be between £700 - £1500. Self funded MRI costs can be significantly reduced by using CMC Imaging Services at Heath Lodge Clinic, Solihull, West Midlands.
A low cost high quality private MRI scan can be arranged after a request form has been received from your GP, Medical Consultant, Osteopath, Chiropracter, or Physiotherapist - see below to print out an Imaging Request Form .
For your comfort both scanners at the Heath Lodge clinic are of the open type, reducing the risk of claustrophobia in those with a nervous disposition.
During a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan, radio waves are directed at protons, the nuclei of hydrogen atoms, in a strong magnetic field. The protons are first "excited" and then "relaxed," emitting radio signals, which can be computer-processed to form an image.
In the body, protons are most abundant in the hydrogen atoms of water - the "H" of H2O - so that an MRI image shows differences in the water content and distribution in various body tissues. Even different types of tissue within the same organ, such as the grey and white matter of the brain, can easily be distinguished.
Multiple sequences, each lasting two to 10 minutes are obtained in different planes. Each sequence has its own degree of contrast.
Video - Interesting MRI lecture
MRI Scan Examples
Click on the icons below to reveal MRI scan examples:-
- Cervical Disc Prolapse
- Lumbar Disc Prolapse
- Axial view of Lumbar Disc Prolapse
- Lumbar Disc Annular Tear
- Lumbar Spondylolisthesis
MRI scanning is an investigation to detect structural or anatomical problems inside the body without the need for exploratory surgery or more complex invasive tests.
It can be used to detect problems in almost any area - head, brain, eyes, ears, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, spine and limbs. It is particularly useful for detecting nerve root compression (pinched, trapped nerve) in the spine by a slipped disc, and is also commonly used to assess major joints prior to replacement.
It does not however tell us anything about the source of pain or the function of different tissues (how they move or work). This is usually discovered by a thorough physical examination by your doctor.
In relation to musculo-skeletal pain diagnosis some doctors will tell you that the MRI scan shows the source of the pain. It's important to realise that this is just their suggestion with no real way of proving it wrong or right. Many Type 1 errors occur in diagnosing pain where just because the scan shows an abnormality, the immediate assumption is that the abnormality found is the cause of the pain. In many pain scenarios there may be more than 3 - 4 causes of the same pain, with the scan suggesting just one of them, and the others being found on physical examination.
In relation to pain diagnosis, MRI scans are mainly used to exclude serious life threatening conditions. Therefore if you are told that your scan is "normal for your age", that's great news - the pain is likely to be coming from something much simpler - usually muscles, joints or ligaments.
When performing MRI, particular precautions have to be made due to the use of a very powerful magnetic field. Implanted ferromagnetic objects can pose a serious safety problem. In general, implants are becoming increasingly MR safe and an individual evaluation is carried out for each case.
In general, the following implants are considered (relative) contraindications to cardiac MRI:-
Cerebral aneurysm clips
Intra-ocular metallic shards
Automatic cardioverter defibrillators
Nerve stimulation units
Most other electronic implants
Temporary pacing wires
Patients with implanted cardiac pacemakers have been scanned on rare occasions, but pacemakers are generally considered a contraindication.
Implanted objects that DO NOT (in general) pose safety problems are:-
Vascular clips on bypass grafts
Intracoronary stents (including immediately after implantation)
Heart valve prostheses
Hip and knee prostheses.
Those with implanted Intrathecal Morphine Pumps will need to have to pump switched off for the duration of the scan.
If in doubt, please discuss your concerns with the MRI staff prior to entering the scanner.
Other Useful Tests
Also known as a CAT Scan or Computerised Axial Tomography . Patients find this type of scan less claustrophobic as the tunnel is much shorter than the MRI scanner.
CT scans consist of a highly sensitive X-ray beam that is focused on a specific plane of the body. As this beam passes through the body, it is picked up by a detector, which feeds the information it receives into a computer. The computer then analyzes the information on the basis of tissue density.
Generally CT is preferred where bone details are of paramount importance (long bones, spine, skull), whilst MRI produces much better soft tissue details (brain, spinal cord etc)
CT scans are useful for examining body cavities (thorax, abdomen, pelvis) for calcium deposits, cysts, and abscesses.
EMG stands for Electromyogram, or more simply, a nerve and muscle conduction test. The name implies one test, but it usually consists of two parts:-
Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV) - assessing the speed at which the peripheral nerves transmit electrical signals. the nerve is stimulated, usually with surface electrodes, which are patch-like electrodes (similar to those used for ECG's) placed on the skin over the nerve at various locations. One electrode stimulates the nerve with a very mild electrical impulse. The resulting electrical activity is recorded by the other electrodes. The distance between electrodes and the time it takes for electrical impulses to travel between electrodes are used to calculate the nerve conduction velocity.
Electromyography (EMG) - assessing a muscles ability to contract when stimulated by a nerve impulse. A needle electrode is inserted through the skin into the muscle. The electrical activity detected by this electrode is displayed on an oscilloscope, and may be heard through a speaker.After placement of the electrodes, you may be asked to contract the muscle (for example, by bending your arm). The presence, size, and shape of the wave form -- the action potential -- produced on the oscilloscope provide information about the ability of the muscle to respond when the nerves are stimulated.
In Coventry, Warwickshire and the West Midlands, private EMG's can be arranged through the Oak House Medical Group.
Isotope Bone Scan
Also known as Bone Scintigraphy .
This test detects areas of increased or decreased bone metabolism (turnover). The test is performed to identify abnormal processes involving the bone such as tumours, infection, inflammation, or fracture. A radiotracer (bone-seeking radionuclide) is injected into the bloodstream through a vein. As it decays, the radiotracer emits gamma radiation, which is detected by a camera that slowly scans your body. The camera captures images of how much radiotracer collects in the bones .
If a bone scan is performed to evaluate possible fracture or infection, images will be performed shortly after the radiotracer injection, as well as after a 3-hour delay, when the tracer has collected in the bones. This is called a 3-phase bone scan.
To evaluate metastatic bone disease, images are obtained only after the 3-hour delay. Information from the camera is recorded in a computer, which then processes the data and creates an image. The scanning part of the test will last about an hour and may require moving to various positions.
Bone Density Scan
Also known as a DeXA scan .
A bone density scan measures the density of bone in a person with suspected osteoporosis. The lower the density of a bone the higher the risk of fractures. A bone scan, along with a patient's medical history, is a useful aid in evaluating the probability of a fracture and whether any preventative treatment is needed. A bone density scan has the advantage of being painless and exposing the patient to only a small amount of radiation.
Also know as Positron Emission Tomography .
This is a diagnostic examination that involves collecting images based on the detection of radiation from the emission of positrons. Positrons are tiny particles emitted from a radioactive substance administered to the patient. The subsequent images of the human body developed with this technique are used to evaluate a variety of diseases.
PET scans are used most often to detect cancer and to examine the effects of cancer therapy by characterizing biochemical changes in the cancer. These scans can be performed on the whole body. PET scans of the heart can be used to determine blood flow to the heart muscle and help evaluate signs of coronary artery disease. Combined with a myocardial perfusion study, PET scans allow differentiation of nonfunctioning heart muscle from heart muscle that would benefit from a procedure, such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery, which would reestablish adequate blood flow and improve heart function. PET scans of the brain are used to evaluate patients who have memory disorders of an undetermined cause, suspected or proven brain tumors or seizure disorders that are not responsive to medical therapy and are therefore candidates for surgery.