MRI After a Femur Fracture
A femur fracture is a severe injury that is often diagnosed using an x-ray; however, in certain situations, the doctor might need to order an MRI. There are several notable differences between an x-ray and an MRI. They are both useful but in different situations. The difference is that:
- An x-ray is much quicker (taking seconds) than an MRI (which could take an hour or more in certain circumstances).
- An MRI is far more detailed and produces high-resolution images.
- An x-ray generates an image using radiation while an MRI relies on powerful magnets.
- Those who have metal inside of their body cannot receive an MRI scan.
- An MRI scan can identify specific medical injuries and complications that could be missed on an x-ray.
While an x-ray might be able to identify a fracture, an MRI could identify other associated injuries or find serious complications.
A Serious Infection Spotted by an MRI
One critical role of an MRI following a femur fracture is to spot a potential infection. When this fracture occurs, it opens up a portal for infection. Some of the ways an infection could develop include:
- Damaged blood vessels that could make it easier for a virus to reach the femur.
- A break in the skin in an open fracture that makes the body vulnerable to infection.
- A possible infection resulting from a femur fracture surgery.
An infection of the femur is a serious complication and is often called osteomyelitis. It is challenging, if not impossible, to diagnose bone infection, such as osteomyelitis, on an x-ray image. On the other hand, the detailed picture of an MRI can demonstrate clear inflammation in the vicinity of the thigh, which could help diagnose an infection. This infection then requires antibiotic treatment and, possibly, repeat surgery.
Vascular Complications Found on an MRI
An MRI scan is also exceptional at identifying vascular problems. Particularly with fractures of the femoral neck, the blood supply of the femur could be in jeopardy. Fractures of the femur could tear through the arteries that supply oxygen and nutrients to the femur. When this happens, this could lead to avascular necrosis. Some of the symptoms of avascular necrosis of the femur include:
- Worsening pain in the femur even after surgical repair.
- An inability to bear weight on the affected leg.
- Swelling or bruising of the thigh.
If avascular necrosis develops, emergent femur surgery could be needed. An MRI can confirm the diagnosis, and individuals might require a hip replacement if the blood supply cannot be repaired or if the femoral head has already necrosed.
Associated Injuries Found on an MRI Scan
In addition to the complications discussed above, there are also several related injuries that might be spotted by an MRI. These are important because they could be missed by a routine x-ray. Some of the injuries that an MRI might catch include:
- Ligament tears in the hip or knee that could be associated with the femur fracture.
- Tears in the quadriceps muscles stemming from bone fragments from the femur.
- Detached tendons resulting from the femur fracture.
These are all serious injuries that also require the attention of a trained medical professional. If these associated injuries are identified, it could mean a lengthy recovery process.
Watch YouTube Video: MRI: What to Expect. This video provides a look at what patients can expect when they go in for an MRI.
Contacting a Femur Fracture Lawyer
When a loved one has suffered a severe femur fracture, he or she could be looking at a long recovery process. This could mean that a family member might not be able to return to work, leaving the family wondering how they are going to keep the roof over their head or put food in the table. No family should ever face this situation alone, which is where a femur fracture lawyer in Sacramento can provide assistance. An experienced attorney can help a family assess their situation, review their options, pursue damages related to the accident, and move their recovery process in the right direction. Do not face this situation alone. Rely on the help of a Sacramento femur fracture lawyer. Your family could be entitled to a financial award.
Femur Fracture Lawyers in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento femur fracture lawyer. An MRI could be ordered following a femur fracture to identify specific issues that might be missed by a routine x-ray. If you have sustained a femur fracture in an accident, call me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.
A catalog of our prior verdicts or settlements is available for viewing.
Image Attribution: The picture used on this page was found first on Pixabay and has been shown here under the permission of the Creative Commons License.
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