Auto accidents can cause a wide range of injuries with even wider ranges of severity. Common injuries that can be caused by an auto accident include:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Head injuries
- Chest injuries
- Limb injuries
- Internal injuries
- Spinal injuries
Before a plan can be made as to the best method of treatment (surgery, casting, splinting, physical therapy, etc.) a diagnosis needs to be made to determine your specific injury as well as its level of seriousness. One of the most helpful diagnosis tools available is that of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, more commonly known as an MRI.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging is a method that uses a magnetic field in tandem with radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. The noninvasive test allows for your physician to examine your organs, tissues and skeletal system in a way that cannot be replicated. In terms of auto accident injuries, magnetic resonance imaging is most often used to diagnose spinal cord and brain injuries.
Spinal Cord Injury: Spinal cord injuries are very serious. The spinal cord is made up of a bundle of nerves that run down the center of your back. The cord serves to carry signals back and forth between your body and your brain. Spinal cord injuries are categorized as being complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury means that the signals cannot be sent from the brain to the body and as a result, paralysis sets in. An incomplete spinal cord injury means some movement and sensation exists and rehabilitation is possible. Damage to the spinal cord can result in permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury. An MRI can help to detect if a spinal cord injury exists and, if so, if the injury is complete or incomplete.
Head Injury: The sudden impact of a collision can wreak havoc on your head. From neck muscle strains to concussions, the area above your shoulders is at risk in any serious auto accident. If your head makes impact with an object, like a steering wheel, it is possible that your brain could be injured and a concussion can result. Because MRI is viewed as a superior method in detecting traumatic lesions of the brain, and does not expose patients to radiation, it is recommended that it is used for assessing traumatic brain injuries.
The MRI machine itself is shaped like a tube and is made up of large magnets. Unlike an X-ray machine where only a portion of your body is scanned, with an MRI, you actually get into the machine. Once you are lying down within the machine, the magnetic field will temporarily realign the hydrogen atoms in your body. Radio waves cause the newly aligned atoms to produce very faint signals, which are used to create the MRI images.
There are different types of MRIs. MRI can be used to evaluate brain, neck, and spinal cord problems. It can also help caregivers look at problems with your chest, heart, abdomen, joints, or blood vessels. Because the machine can be used in so many different ways, different examinations are available which include:
- Functional MRI – A type of MRI where you are asked to perform certain activities to help map the functional areas of your brain.
- Breast Scans – An MRI that uses radio waves to create pictures of the breast and surrounding tissue.
- Magnetic Resonance Angiography – An MRI that uses the magnetic resonance technology in combination with intravenous contrast dye to visualize blood vessels. This helps the physician to visualize the blood vessels being evaluated.
- Magnetic Resonance Venography – An MRI that uses a combination of a large magnet, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within your body.
- Cardiac MRI – An MRI that uses a combination of a large magnet, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of heart structures.
Magnetic resonance imaging uses powerful magnets which can pose a safety hazard if you have metal in your body like a defibrillator, cochlear implant, or even bullet fragments. It is of the utmost importance that you let your physician know if you have metal within your body.
Because of temperature increases, MRI is not recommended for women who are pregnant. If you are pregnant you should notify your physician.
During the MRI
You will likely be asked to change into a hospital gown prior to entering the machine. As mentioned, MRI uses powerful magnets so you will be asked to remove all jewelry or other metal objects. The MRI technician will be located behind a window during the MRI scan but will be able to speak with you by way of a headset during the exam. Staying still is one of the most important requirements during the MRI. If movement is detected, the generated images will likely be blurry. If you have trouble being still for long periods of time, your doctor may provide you with a mild sedative. The MRI exam is not quiet. In fact, you will likely hear loud banging noises as the images are generated since the large, powerful magnets are moving within the machine.
Compensation for MRI Following an Auto Accident
If you have suffered an injury that requires an MRI exam as the result of an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment. By pursuing a personal injury claim, you can seek damages not only for direct medical expenses but also lost wages for periods of time you were unable to work due to your injuries and/or subsequent treatment.
At the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal, we understand how frustrating and painful auto accidents can be and appreciate the significant physical and financial difficulties that can result. To begin the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries and treatment, contact us at 303.825.2223.