Shields Health Care Group Blog

MRI & Rotator Cuff Injuries: when you need one & when you don't.

Posted by Lisa Campisi

Ahhh…summertime.  Warm weather means outdoor sports, vacations, exercise and …shoulder injuries? That’s right, shoulder injuries. Many classic outdoor activities during the summer months are “overhand/overhead” ones like baseball, softball, tennis, swimming volleyball or even painting, roofing and yard work.

While all these activities use different muscles, they all involve repetitive use of the shoulder that can lead to potential shoulder instability (when the shoulder joint is loose and slides around too much in the socket). This repetitive motion can cause the shoulder ligaments to loosen and in some cases, slip out and dislocate or lead to arthritis. Frequent use of the shoulder can also cause severe problems with the rotator cuff.

The rotator cuff is the name for four distinct muscles and their tendons that surround the shoulder, that provide strength and stability during motion. Some of the most common shoulder conditions to the rotator cuff that can occur in the warmer months include impingement syndrome, bursitis, tendinitis and tendon ruptures or tears. All of these can vary in severity and if ignored, can aggravate the shoulder even further. One of the top injuries that we see at Shields MRI during the summer season is rotator cuff tears. So how do you know if you have a rotator cuff tear and if you need an MRI?

First thing is first –any concerns, sharp pains or prolonged discomfort is a reason to visit your doctor; and a doctor that specializes in orthopedics is one that can help address concerns with your shoulder and rotator cuff.

Dr. Mayo Noerdlinger, an Orthopaedic surgeon at Atlantic Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, advises on why MRI may be recommended for a rotator cuff tear. “To simplify matters, rotator cuff tears do not heal; they can retract, leading to muscle atrophy and eventually cause arthritis in the shoulder. For these reasons, I tend to order MRIs to evaluate the rotator cuff when someone presents with ongoing shoulder pain and weakness.”

MRI is particularly beneficial for internal organs, muscles, connective tissue and the central nervous system and uses cross-sectional imaging to create extremely clear and detailed picture, allowing your physician to make an earlier and accurate diagnosis. In the instance of a rotator cuff injury, your doctor may recommend an MRI not only to diagnosis a tear, but rather, to exclude the possibility of one. 

Not all shoulder pain and injury to the rotator cuff is cause for an MRI. Dr. Noerdlinger explains, “Only three things will limit external rotation: arthritis, a posteriorly dislocated shoulder and frozen shoulder.  Both arthritis and a posteriorly dislocated shoulder can be diagnosed on plain x-ray. The best way to evaluate for a frozen shoulder is to assess the external rotation of a patient's glenohumeral joint.  A frozen shoulder is the presumed diagnosis in the setting of normal X-rays and limited external rotation."

Dr. Noerdlinger describes a very simplified method he uses when he is considering an MRI for a patient complaining of pain and discomfort in their shoulder. “Pain and weakness with good passive range of motion, consider a MRI to rule out a rotator cuff tear. Pain and weakness with poor passive range of motion (especially external rotation), consider a glenohumeral cortisone injection and physical therapy to treat the frozen shoulder.”

If your doctor does recommend an MRI for your shoulder, there are two potential types of MRI procedures that can be used to diagnose a rotator cuff tear: A routine shoulder MRI, which takes about 25 minutes of actual scan time, and shoulder MR arthrogram, which involves an X-ray procedure during which contrast is injected directly into the shoulder joint space followed by an MRI. An MR arthrogram is more specific for shoulder joint injuries, but is also more involved and requires the patient to be at the facility for about two hours. Your doctor can help determine which scan is the right one for your injury. Example images of shoulder injuries for both types of MRI scans are shown below.

Shields MRI, chief technologist, Aaron Easton says, “ As with any injury, it is critical that the patient is comfortable and relaxed during their MRI. Not only does this create a better imaging experience, but it ensures that the patient is still to obtain the best images possible. An important thing to remember when imaging the shoulder is that MRI is very sensitive to motion; the challenge with the shoulder is its very close proximity to the lungs.  Breathing calm and relaxed and avoiding heavy breathing, coughing and clearing of the throat during the imaging sequences will all help to ensure image quality. At Shields MRI, our staff will use cushions and padding to support our patients’ arms and legs as a way to make them as comfortable as possible and make it easier to remain still throughout the exam.”

If you are experiencing any pain that is consistent with the descriptions in this article, you may want to consider a visit to your doctor, who may recommend therapy, rehabilitation or an MRI. The biggest lesson is to listen to your body and your doctor. And if we see you at Shields MRI, we’ll do everything we can to get you back on the playing field without further pain or injury.

 

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Tags: arthrogram, MR arthrogram, MRI, sports injury, shoulder, Shields MRI, MR

The question everyone asks: WHY does Shields MRI cost less?

Posted by Lisa Campisi

You've heard our commercials. You've seen Tedy Bruschi say it. You get it - choosing Shields can save you money! But why?? How can an MRI that is of the highest-quality cost up to 60% less than hospitals? 

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Tags: price, cost, mri price, transparency, MRI cost, high-deductible health plan

Two MRIs. One BIG difference.

Posted by Lisa Campisi

You don't have to be a radiologist to see what's wrong in THIS picture. While the pictures above are a fun way of showing a price difference, its a very real scenario in Massachusetts. The fact is that the price of an MRI in Massachusetts can vary as much as 65% for the EXACT same scan – the same technology, the same body part, even the same time of day. The purpose of an MRI is to look deeper; perhaps it’s time for consumers to do the same – to their MRI bills.

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Tags: open-bore MRI, MRI, cost, open MRI, copays, health premiums, MRI centers, mri price, health care shopping, high-deductible health plan, HDHP

Shoveling injuries: Will I need an MRI?

Posted by Lisa Campisi

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Tags: back pain, spine mri, back mri, shoveling injury, slipped disc, herniated disc

An MRI for Christmas? What to expect from healthcare transparency tools.

Posted by Lisa Campisi

If you drove by Shields MRI in Framingham on black Friday this year, you'd have seen a line of MRI shoppers out the door beginning at just after midnight.

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Tags: price, MRI, Shields MRI, mri price, transparency, MRI cost, health care shopping

What is Shields MRI thankful for? Our employees - here's why.

Posted by Lisa Campisi

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, gratitude is running high at Shields Health Care Group. This blog post is taking a different spin and today, we’re sharing five reasons Shields is thankful for our hardworking employees and committed team.

  1. Shields employees care about our patients. And we mean really care. Every day there are stories of how patients are surprised by the small things that our care team does to make a big difference. At Shields in Weymouth, one of our patients who came in for a PET/CT scan shares a great example through her interaction with Shields technologist Amanda by saying: “Amanda is always so friendly and eager to help. This time we needed to find the cafeteria after the scan, she walked us there. Then we needed a transit vehicle to take us back to the hospital, she arranged that for us. Then she contacted us for our next appointment. We enjoyed her help so much.”
  2. Our employees work as a team.  Whether an employee has worked with us for three weeks or twenty-five years, they are treated as part of the Shields Health Care Group family – and a valued part of our team. We often receive compliments from patients recognizing staff members they worked with in scheduling, billing and at the center they visited. The energy and collaboration between departments is clear to everyone who visits Shields. Here’s what one of the patients who chose Baystate MRI & Imaging Center in Springfield said: “Beyond exceptional from the first phone call to notify me of appointment right through to the Tech that did the MRI was outstanding. A wonderful group of professionals everyone I dealt with.”
  3. Our employees bring passion and creative ideas to the table every day. Shields employees are known for always bringing unique ideas about ways to continuously improve our business. Our diverse opinions serve as inspiration for the team and often result in breakthroughs that keep us moving forward. For example, our operations team and IT department worked together to roll out our iPad check in process. At each center, our patients can now check in for their appointment in about two minutes. Patients love it! At Shields MRI center in Woburn, a patient said: “Love the paperless system. Work flow process appears to be successfully implemented. Great facility from start to finish. Thank you for the care in health care.”
  4. Shields employees are committed to their jobs and motivated to succeed. Every year Shields celebrates employees that reach anniversaries ranging from one to twenty-five years (and beyond). It means so much to have employees committed to our success and have been with us since we opened our doors. Our team members love working at Shields and with one another – and it shows! As one of our patients at Shields MRI Dartmouth said: “Awesome place. Awesome staff. Love it!” We couldn’t agree more.
  5. The Shields team is successful and working hard to exceed the expectations of our patients. Shields focus on patient care and hard work sets new standards in the health care industry. Shields is currently providing MRI services for one in every three people in Massachusetts and we have our team to thank for that! We aren’t the only ones who notice that Shields stands out when it comes to service. Here’s another patient who agrees: “Honestly... all medical facilities should run like this one, absolutely terrific staff, Bravo!”

When you experience the great things the Shields team members do every day, it’s easy to see why we are thankful. This Thanksgiving season we thank our employees for the innovation, excellence, character, kindness & growth they bring to create the unique Shields culture. Thank you for all you do!

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Five REAL tips to help the family on a high-deductible health plan

Posted by Lisa Campisi

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Tags: health care dollars, MRI, cost, copays, healthcare expenses, health premiums, health insurer, mri price, high-deductible health plan, HDHP

Christina Applegate's breast cancer diagnosis came from an MRI: Why hasn't my doctor recommended one?

Posted by Lisa Campisi

image source: google

Christina Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36 after a breast MRI and has been an advocate for the benefits of screening ever since. In particular, she has been very public about her feelings on the need for easier accessibility of advanced breast screening, such as MRI. 

So if breast MRI is beneficial to the diagnosis of breast cancer, you may be wondering WHY your doctor has not recommended one. 

Breast MRI is requested by your physician most often in cases where there is an abnormal mammogram or a history of breast cancer in a ‘first-degree’ relative (parent, sibling or child), or a genetic predisposition to breast cancer. It may also be helpful to screen women who have implants or scar tissue that makes reading the mammogram difficult, or to determine if an implant has ruptured. Breast MRI is also meaningful to distinguish between recurrent tumors from radiation or surgical scar tissue. Breast MRI is most important for women diagnosed with breast cancer to determine the extent of the tumor and to assess the possibility of multiple tumors in the same or opposite breast. 

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Tags: breast cancer, breast MRI, Breast screening,

Kanye's doctor recommended an MRI for migraine. Why didn't yours?

Posted by Lisa Campisi

News stations have recently reported that Kanye West was rushed to a hospital in Australia during his recent tour due to an intense migraine. If you suffer from migraines, you may be asking yourself why your doctor didn’t recommend an MRI. While there is a chance that Kanye’s doctor, like many of us, may have just been plain curious about what is going on in his head, but since an MRI scan is not able to diagnose migraines, cluster or tension headaches, it’s more likely that he is either suffering from chronic headaches or they were trying to rule out another medical condition.   

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Tags: 1.5T MRI, Kanye West, migraine, chronic headache, headache, brain tumor, brain MRI, 1.5T

Three things no one tells you about your MRI.

Posted by Lisa Campisi

An MRI is a relatively common diagnostic procedure today. In fact, about 10% of the population needs an MRI each year. So if you're one of them, your doctor probably got you prepared with some basic information about the test,  including where it will take place and what body part they'll scan.

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