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Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive procedure in which the combination of radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create remarkably clear and detailed images of internal organs and tissues without the use of radiation. Each MRI examination produces hundreds of pictures from a variety of different angles. One way to think of MRI MRIsmall.pngis as you would a loaf of bread and the many slices in it. These “slices” show the difference between normal and abnormal tissue making MRI very useful in diagnosing abnormalities. MRI has proven very valuable for the diagnosis of many conditions in the following areas of your body:

  • Brain
  • Spine
  • Abdomen and pelvis
  • Vascular structures
  • Joints such as the knee and shoulder
  • Muscles, cartilage, tendons and ligaments

How to prepare for your MRI examination:

Unless you’re told otherwise, you may follow your regular daily routine and take food and medications as usual. We’re necessarily vigilant about your safety while in the strong magnetic field of our scanner. Prior to your scan we’ll ask you to complete a safety questionnaire to ensure you’re a good candidate for an MRI scan. You’re encouraged to check with our registered technologist if you have any questions or concerns about any implanted object or health condition that could affect your MRI. Be sure to let us know if you have a:

  • Pacemaker (unless it’s one of the new MRI compatible types!)
  • Aneurysm clips
  • History of working with metal
  • Implanted infusion device
  • Inner ear implant
  • History of bullet or shrapnel injury
  • Metallic plates, pins, screws
  • IUD
  • Tattoos or permanent makeup
  • Are pregnant

 What to expect during your MRI examination:

You’ll be asked to change into a pair of scrub pants and a top for your scan. We’ll secure your valuables outside the scanning suite since you’ll not be able to bringMRIped.png them into the room with you. Your registered technologist will make you as comfortable as possible on a table that moves into the MRI machine during the scan. The area of interest needs to be in the center of the magnet, which is approximately six feet deep overall. A special coil may be placed over the area to be examined to improve the quality of the images. It’s very important that you remain as still as possible during each scanning sequence to allow us to obtain the best images for your exam. You’ll usually be alone in the exam room during the MRI procedure however, your technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times using a two-way intercom. S/he will update you on the progress and duration of your scan. We’ll provide either ear plugs and/or headphones for you to listen to music during your exam.   We also have the ability to plug your personal iPod or MP3 player into our sound system. During scanning you’ll hear noises ranging from grating to thumping to clicking or tapping sounds as the scanner changes to different sequences or “pictures”. It’s normal for the area of your body being imaged to feel slightly warm – let your technologist know if this bothers you. For some MRI studies, a contrast agent called gadolinium (not iodine) is injected through an IV and may be used to improve the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels. Please let your technologist know if you have any history of kidney problems. Plan to be a guest in our Imaging Department for about an hour for your MRI study.

After your MRI examination:

You should not feel any after effects from your MRI exam and can immediately resume your normal daily routine. Your technologist will send your images to a Board Certified Radiologist with special training interpreting MRI examinations. S/he will analyze the images and send the results to your healthcare provider. Your provider will discuss the results with you.   New technology allows us to distribute reports and images over the Internet to many providers and facilities.

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