Home Services & Programs Extremity MRI

Extremtiy MRI


JavaScript is disabled!
To display this content, you need a JavaScript capable browser.

New imaging technology delivers greater comforts to patients at USC Sports Medicine Center

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine recently debuted the first 1.5T extremity MRI in South Carolina.

The extremity magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner delivers greater comforts to patients while providing superior imaging for physicians responsible for diagnosing a soft-tissue injury.

Unlike a traditional full-body MRI system, which can require patients lay motionless in an enclosed tube for a prolonged period of time, the extremity MRI takes place in an open environment. The patient sits in a padded chair beside the scanner. The joint requiring imaging — an elbow, wrist, hand, knee, foot or ankle — slides comfortably into the circular imaging device. During the scan, patients can tilt the chair back, read a book and enjoy the mobility not offered to them in a traditional full-body scan.

The extremity MRI scanner is located in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine’s new Sports Medicine Center at Two Medical Park, Suite 104. The 3,000 square-foot center features seven exam rooms, a concussion testing room, consultation area and fully digital x-rays.

What You Need To Know For Your MRI

What is MRI?  Magnetic Resonance Imaging.  The magnet is thousands of times stronger than the earth’s magnetic force; therefore, proper and careful screening is done ensure your safety.


1.      Claustrophobic?  No need to worry about that at USC Orthopaedics.  We can do an MRI of your knee, ankle, foot, elbow, wrist or hand while you are sitting or lying with only the body part that we are scanning in the machine.


2.      Contraindications to an MRI include pacemaker, defibrillator, neurostimulator, implanted pain pump and some mechanical heart valves.  If you have any of these items implanted in your body, you are not able to have an MRI.  If you have had any heart stents or mechanical valves implanted, please bring your implant card so the technologist can be sure your implanted device is safe to be exposed to a magnetic field.


3.      MRI is a safe way to give your doctor pertinent information to know how to treat your symptoms either by physical therapy, medication or surgery.


4.      When having an MRI, you must wear clothing without any metal.  All jewelry, hairpins, wallet, pocket knives, money clips, cell phone, watch need to be removed before entering the exam room.  Basically nothing on your body except clothes without metal.  We have a special place your belongings can be locked while you’re having your scan performed.


5.      Each scan takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour.


6.      It is very important for you to hold completely still during your scan.  Motionless pictures are important to ensure the correct diagnosis is obtained.  The technologist will pack sponges around the body part being imaged.  If you do move during a sequence, that set of images will need to be repeated; therefore, making your scan time longer.  If you are in pain, please make sure you take pain medicine before coming for your appointment.  We do not have any pain medications in our office to give you.


7.      You will be given earplugs or headphones during your scan.  The machine does make loud knocking noises that resemble a jack hammer or fire alarm.  You may bring your own music and the technologist will be happy to play it for you while you’re being imaged.  We can use CD or ipods.


8.      You will be asked to complete a questionnaire about your medical history which includes previous surgeries and medications that you take.  Please bring a list of all surgeries and medications along with allergies to the appointment.  This will help speed up the screening process.


Please complete the following MRI Questionnaire and bring with you to your MRI Appointment:


icon USC Sports Medicine MRI Questionnaire (118.85 kB)