Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can doctors see an MRI scan immediately?"
Does he have to wait like I do? If he doesn't, what can he tell off the bat?
The answer to this question depends on the setting in which the MRI is ordered. For example, if you are in the emergency room and your doctor orders an MRI because he or she is worried about something going on in your brain, then the MRI will be visible to both the emergency room doctor and radiologist within minutes after it is done. Most MRIs are not done in an emergency situation. If you had an MRI that was ordered by your doctor outside the hospital, then the time for your doctor to see it depends on if your doctor has access to the computerized images from the location where you had the MRI done. Most doctors in large medical practices have this access, and therefore can see these images withing a few hours of the study being completed and uploaded into the computer system. The second part of your question deals with what the average doctor can tell from an MRI. All doctors have some training looking at MRIs, but most that are not trained in radiology can only see the very obvious findings. Thus, for a thorough read, you must wait for the radiologist to read the images. For MRIs, this can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. The best type of physician for you to see about this is your primary care physician. Your doctor can explain when he or she will get the results of your MRI and what is expected to be found. Good luck.
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