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Can an MRI Show Injuries Missed on an X-Ray?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2022 | Firm News, Personal Injury

If you’ve recently been injured in a car accident, slip and fall, or at your workplace, you may be asking yourself, “Should I get medical attention after an accident?” or “How long after an accident do injuries appear?” The answer to these questions isn’t always clear, but it’s almost always in your best interest to have a medical professional examine you—regardless of how serious you think your injuries are. Without a comprehensive medical diagnosis that may include an X-ray, you may not have a complete picture of what your injuries really are. However, in many cases, obtaining an MRI can catch details that an X-ray can’t. One recent study found that of patients who previously had an X-ray that didn’t show any bone injury, 21% of them went on to have an MRI that did show bone fractures, and over half showed bone contusion or bruising of the bone.

If you’d like to learn more about how an MRI can help in filing an injury claim, call us at Marker & Crannell Attorneys at Law in Naperville, Illinois.

The Dangers of Not Noticing a Serious Injury

Accidental injuries happen all the time, whether it’s at your workplace, driving your car, or while you’re out and about running errands. There’s nothing to prepare us for these unexpected incidents, and people are often left wondering, “What should I do after an injury?” Some of us may wish to shake it off and continue with our day as usual or we may think we need medical attention but are hesitant to pursue it—this is a mistake. You should alwaysseek medical attention, even if you think your injuries are minor. This is especially true in cases where liability for the accident lies with someone else (like in a car accident), or if it occurred on the job.

Injuries can often take days or weeks to manifest themselves after accidents, and many people who claim they feel fine one day will complain about pain a few days later. By ignoring the initial injury, you can exacerbate the effects of it and can actually cause more harm to your body. Only a doctor will be able to thoroughly evaluate you and let you know the extent of your injuries.

Understanding an X-Ray

Nearly all of us have had an X-ray (also called a radiograph) at some time in our life. They’re used extensively to assess a patient’s health, particularly after an accident. X-rays work by sending radiation through the body and capturing an image of the result. Any areas with high calcium levels (like bones or teeth), will show up in this image, while soft tissue looks gray or black. X-rays are used widely to assess breaks, fractures, spinal injuries, and dislocations. They’re a relatively quick and cheap way for doctors to see major issues with bones. However, they don’t show non-bone, soft tissue, or nerve injuries and can even miss some bone fractures.

Sometimes, a patient may have been told that their X-ray showed no injuries but they’re still in pain. In these cases, it may be necessary to obtain an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

When an MRI is Necessary

If you’re still in pain after a doctor has performed an X-ray and cleared you of any major bone or tissue injuries, you may be left asking, “Should I get an MRI after an injury?” The answer may be yes, and there’s good reason to push for this if you’re still concerned about underlying injuries.

An MRI scanner is similar to an x-ray in that it captures images inside your body including bone, but MRIs can be even more useful because they also show soft tissue, nerves, and blood cells. It does this by passing radio waves through your body by way of a giant magnet. These radio waves then interact with the protons in your body and create a 360-degree image that doctors can then use to evaluate your health. Medical professionals often prefer MRIs because they give a much more detailed picture of the patient’s body and can delineate between bone and soft tissue much better than an X-ray. Because of this, MRIs can often detect fractures and breaks that an x-ray missed as well as highlight spinal injuries, nerve damage, or muscle and ligament damage—all conditions that are common after accidents.

MRIs are more expensive than X-rays which is why your provider may be hesitant to proceed with one, but without it, you may not receive the right diagnosis which means you aren’t receiving the right treatment.

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Experienced Guidance You Can Trust

At Marker & Crannell Attorneys at Law, we’ve been helping those in and around the Naperville, Illinois area get the legal help they need with their personal injury claims. We’re also able to help clients in the neighboring areas of Bolingbrook, Aurora, Romeoville, Joliet, Plainfield, Lisle, Wheaton, and Woodridge. If you’re looking for a personal injury attorney who truly cares about your needs, reach out to Marker & Crannell today.