An MRI scan of the lower limb is done to study its structure and anatomy so as to diagnose injuries, fractures, tumors or torn ligaments. In this scan, parts of the lower limb such as foot and ankle are examined thoroughly. Your doctor is likely to order this scan if he observes a mass in your limb during a physical scan, finds an abnormal x-ray report, identifies a birth defect in the lower limb, sees swelling, pain or rash in the leg or if you complain of pain in the bone along with fever.
No special preparation is required before carrying out this MRI scan. However, the doctor may ask you not to eat or drink anything a few hours before the scan. Make sure you tell your doctor beforehand if you have a fear of closed spaces. Also, tell your doctor if you have a pacemaker, brain aneurysm clips, kidney disease, artificial joints or implants. You will not be allowed to carry any metal objects with you into the scan room. The scan causes no pain.
A normal scan indicates that your lower limb is fine. An abnormal result may be an indicator of an underlying condition such as arthritis, abscess, fracture, infection, tear or tumor. Your doctor may suggest further tests to evaluate your leg more and diagnose the exact cause of trouble.
For this scan, you will be asked to lie on a sliding table that goes inside a tunnel shaped MRI machine. You will have to lie still for a long time. Before lying down, you will be asked to wear a hospital gown and remove any metal objects or jewelry you may be carrying. Also, a special dye may be injected into your blood stream before the scan, which gives a warm sensation. Your scan may take as long as one hour to finish.