We would find ourselves functionally impaired without our opposable thumbs thanks to its many unique anatomic features in contrast to our other fingers. Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI) is therefore the primary imaging technique used to evaluate the connective tissues of the thumb.
What Is Thumb MRI?
A Thumb MRI reveals all the intricacies like bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the thumb in detail.
The thumb with its opposable and prehensile abilities, enables fine manual dexterity. Our thumbs are considered a defining trait of our species and have been critical to our evolution. High-resolution MRI allows optimal assessment of the intricate soft-tissue anatomy of the thumb, helping evaluate thumb flexion, extension, abduction, and adduction. The role of the ulnar collateral ligament is also widely recognised in sports related injuries like skier’s thumb.
Although X-rays give a good idea about the anatomy of the thumb, it does not pick up difficult to spot or deep seated injuries. Computerized Tomography(CT) or MRI is preferred for such cases.
How Is Thumb MRI performed?
MRI is a painless form of imaging test used in analyzing the connective tissues of the human hand. The procedure for Thumb MRI is as follows:
- The patient is positioned in prone form, with the arm positioned over the head in the ‘Superman’ position.
- The thumb is aligned to be within the isocenter of the magnet of the MRI device.
- The thumb is made to lie in a different plane in comparison to the other fingers.
- The sagittal and coronal images of the thumb are evaluated for abnormalities.
The patient can also be positioned supine, with the arm extended along the side of the body for Thumb MRI.
Side Effects/Risks Of Thumb MRI
Despite having no ionizing radiations, Thumb MRI has the following risks:
- Inducing uneasiness and claustrophobia in some patients.
- Incompatibility with ferromagnetic implants.
Preparation Before Performing Thumb MRI
Although MRIs don’t require any special preparations, here are a few key pointers:
- Follow pre-appointment restrictions like diet and medications.
- Make a note of your symptoms, progression of pain and swelling near thumb, personal information including medications, and supplements.
- Send your medical reports or carry them with you.
Post-Care After Thumb MRI
After your Thumb MRI remember to:
- Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated.
- Avoid over exerting your hand and thumb area or lifting heavy loads.
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