Are MRI Scans Still Useful Even After an Injury Has Healed?

Are MRI Scans Still Useful Even After an Injury Has Healed?

MRI scans can be useful for tracking recovery or assessing a patient's susceptibility to further injury, even after he has healed. In cases of brain damage from a stroke, MRI scans can help predict the chances of further recovery, according to NeuroImage:Clinical and posted by the National Institutes of Health.

For other types of injury, the usefulness of post-recovery MRI scanning is less clear. Though they are powerful diagnostic tools, MRIs are often overused in medical fields such as sports medicine, reports the New York Times. MRI scans are useful for detecting joint damage and scar tissue, but Dr. Donald Pompan reports in the American Family Physician that many asymptomatic patients also show joint abnormalities. Undue reliance on MRI scans after a patient has healed can therefore lead to misdiagnosis or overtreatment of joint injuries.