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Can an MRI Tell How Old an Injury Is

When people claim compensation for injuries, employers and other responsible parties sometimes argue that the claimant already had the injury before the incident they are seeking compensation for. Often, the injured person will get an MRI after car accident or workplace injuries. Can an MRI tell how old an injury is?

How Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Works

The MRI technician directs harmless beams of radio waves through your head in the presence of a strong magnetic field. The radiologist, with the aid of high-tech software, can interpret radio signals to detect structures in your body and the movement of body fluids such as water and blood.

MRI Detection of Injuries

The detail in MRI scans makes them powerful diagnostic tools. For example, a recent study in the journal “BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders” revealed that an MRI can detect certain multi-ligamentous knee injuries over 90% of the time.

When people undergo MRI scans, radiologists often discover incidental anomalies, which might have nothing to do with the injury or medical condition that first caused them to come in for a scan. Recent research in “Applied Radiology” estimates that 65% of these incidental anomalies are “actionable,” meaning that the doctor can treat them medically. 

An MRI scan can change the interpretation of a previous injury. For example, a study in the Journal of Skeletal Radiology found that MRI can change the decision to treat traumatic spine injuries surgically in 24% of cases.

Differences Between Old and New Injuries

Can an MRI tell how old an injury is? In many cases, yes.

The healing process can produce visible changes to the structure of injured tissue that appear on MRI scans. For example, an MRI scan can reveal:

  • Scar tissue
  • Degeneration of bones or joints after an injury
  • Torn or damaged body tissues that failed to heal after an injury

An experienced radiologist or MRI technician can interpret these results and distinguish injuries that have partially healed or degenerated with the passage of time. 

If you suffer an injury or are at risk for injury, don’t wait any longer to find a quality provider of MRI diagnostic services.

Make an Appointment with Brooklyn Open MRI  

The specialists at Brooklyn Open MRI look forward to the opportunity to provide you with the best diagnostic care so you can get the treatment you need. Our facility accepts most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available.

Can an MRI tell how old an injury is? Get personal answers today. Call us at (718) 400-6369 to schedule an appointment for a consultation or MRI scan at our convenient Brooklyn MRI scanning location.

Frequently Asked Questions

What injuries can an MRI detect?

MRIs can detect injuries in your joints, bones, ligaments, nerve fibers, spinal disks, and organs.

Can MRI show old knee damage?

Yes, an MRI can detect tissue abnormalities indicating past knee injuries.

Can MRI results change in a year?

Yes, MRI results can change within a year with the treatment of injuries or degeneration. Your technician may recommend returning for an updated MRI within three to six months.

Before your MRI appointment, be sure you know what not to do before an MRI.