MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a diagnostic procedure that combines a powerful magnet, radio waves and computer technology to provide detailed images of tissues, muscles, nerves and bones. Because MRI uses magnetic force and radio waves to create images, there is no radiation exposure during the procedure. MRI is often used instead of CT to study soft tissues or organs because bones do not obscure the organs and soft tissues as they do with CT imaging.
Advanced technology and imaging capability
MRI can be used to assess everything from ruptured discs in the spine to detecting brain tumors and vascular diseases through techniques such as:
- Breast MRI can be a more effective imaging technique than mammography for some women, and can provide additional details for diagnosing and evaluating breast abnormalities.
- Spectroscopy (MRS) assesses chemical abnormalities in the brain for conditions such as coma, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, brain tumors, head injury and MS.
- Angiography (MRA) evaluates blood flow, or detects brain aneurysms or blood vessel abnormalities. It is used to visualize renal, carotid and vertebral arteries, or examine the aorta for aneurysm.
- Perfusion and diffusion scanning examines blood flow through tissues to evaluate strokes.
How to Prepare
When you arrive at the MRI facilities we will ask you to fill out a simple information form about your medical and surgical history. Please let us know immediately if:
- You could be pregnant
- Weigh over 350 pounds
- Have a cardiac pace maker
- Any type of implanted device
- Any type of metal shrapnel of fragment inside your body.
You may be asked to change into examination clothes, depending on your particular exam. A locker is provided for your clothes and belongings.
You will need to remove all metal items such as a watch, hairpins, jewelry, coins and credit cards from your body. Please leave valuable belongings at home.
We encourage you to bring a favorite CD or cassette tape to listen to during your exam. A special headset will be provided by the MRI department.
How is your MRI Study Done?
During the MRI, you will lie on a padded table in the middle of a long tube-like machine. The magnet will attract metal items. If you have metal objects (pacemakers, heart valves artificial joints, etc.) which cannot be removed. tell your doctor or technician.
If being in a close space frightens you, discuss this with your doctor before the test. Your doctor may give you some medicine to bring with you to help relax.
You will be positioned comfortably for your exam and it is important to be as still as possible during you exam., You do not have to hold your breath, just breathe normally. If you are having an exam of your head, you will need need to wear a helmet with a window.
The table will then move into the opening of the MRI machine. It will stop when the part of the body we want to examine is in the center. Please remain as quiet as possible during the exam. You will notice. a sound similar to drum beat as the images are taken.
The technologist will not stay with you in the room. You will be able to hear and see the staff and they will monitor you through an intercom and mirror system in the machine. If you become uncomfortable at any time, tell the technician. Staff will be right there to help you.
When your exam is complete, the technician will take you to an area where you may change into your clothes and collect you things to go home. If you are a patient in the hospital, you will be taken to your room.
Your MRI study will be read by a specially trained radiologist, and the results will be sent to your doctor in the next few days. If you have questions about your MRI, please ask you technician or any staff member.
How long will the exam take?
The length of your MRI can vary, depending on the area of you body being examined. In general, the exam lasts about 1 hour.