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Early Post Op MRI
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Early Post Op MRI

I've been told that to have an MRI taken of my shoulder 4 weeks post op after having rotator cuff surgery would be a waste of time as the pictures would be too clouded by inflammation from the recent surgery to be able to see anything. Is this true?

A Radiographer has told me this wouldn't be true and you could still see the pictures clearly enough.

I think my rotator cuff might be torn together with a problem with my long head of the bicep tendon, because I now have quite a large tennis ball like lump in my upper arm, which I have read can be an indication of the bicep tendon not being intact anymore.

I would like to get an MRI as soon as possible to see what problems there might be there, but because of being told an MRI taken too soon post op would be clouded from the recent surgery, nothing would be seen.

Could you please confirm whether the radiographer is correct?

And also I would like to have your opinion on getting an MRI taken in relation to this so called "clouded" issue involving the viewing of the MRI scans so early after an operation to the rotator cuff.

Also, would there ever have been patients now or in the past that have ever had an MRI of the shoulder within a few weeks of shoulder surgery (2 -4 weeks) due to the fact that the patient is showing signs of serious problems and unexplainable pain and loss of movement? Would there be any reason whatsoever to say under no circumstances can an MRI be taken because it's too soon?

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Avatar m tn
Hello Dear,

The following information would resolve your concens regarding MRI.
MRI has replaced arthrography as the criterion standard for diagnosing injuries to the rotator cuff.
MRI is a noninvasive test that is extremely sensitive and specific. It can be used to detect size, location, and characteristics of rotator cuff pathology.
In a rotator cuff tear, the tendon demonstrates a bright signal on T1-weighted images that increases significantly on T2-weighted images.
The increased signal on T2-weighted images is fluid that is filling the defect and helps to differentiate a frank tear from tendinosis.
MRI is a very costly test requiring absolute lack of patient motion while the patient is being scanned.
A small percentage of patients are unable to complete the test secondary to pain or claustrophobia.

Avatar f tn
Dear DrNavneetMD,

I thankyou and appreciate  your response.

I have had an MRI for my knee and ankle on many occasions, so I understand the procedure for the patient and also understand the high cost because of the many that I have had.

Unfortunately you have not answered my question though.

My question is........ If a patient had recent surgery to their rotator cuff , would there be any reason why an MRI could not be taken early post op of the same shoulder because there would be too much inflammation to view the scans properly.

To ask again:

I want to know whether, because of inflammation due to this shoulder surgery,  would the scans be clouded as to make it impossible to view the shoulder and it's muscles and tendons because the surgery was so recent?

I have been told this is a fact by doctors, but a radiographer has told me this is not true and the recent surgery inflammation that a person would have would not affect the viewing of these muscles & tendons.

Who is right? The doctors saying you wouldn't see anything, or the radiologist that says you would quite easily be able to view the shoulders muscles & tendons.

The doctor says that the MRI would show all white because of the inflammation making it impossible to read the scans.

When I say recent surgery. I mean, could an MRI be taken anytime between 2 - 4 weeks post op.

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