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MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

MR imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, printed or copied to CD. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).

Detailed MR images allow physicians to better evaluate parts of the body and certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods such as x-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (also called CT or CAT scanning).

What if I am unable to go through with my study because I am claustrophobic?

For image quality purposes, we prefer to use standard MRIs that are similar in design to a CT. However, for claustrophobic patients, Open MRIs are an option. A disadvantage of open technology is less signal-to-noise ratio, which leads to increased scanning time.

Does MRI affect pregnancy?

If you are pregnant you should consult our physician before having an MRI performed. Recent studies have shown that MRIs are safe at all stages of pregnancy. However, contrast should not be administered at any stage of pregnancy.

Does an MRI affect medical operations and appliances?

Because of the potential harmful effects associated with all metallic objects in a magnetic field, you should check with your physician or MRI technologist if you have had any brain, ear or eye implants, or is you have any metal in your body. Most newer joint implants and surgical clips are not affected.

Are there devices or metal objects that cannot be brought into an MRI scanner?

Yes, there are several devices and articles that cannot be brought near the scanner for your protection. Any and all metallic/magnetic objects should be mentioned to the technician and not brought into the room. This includes credit cards, cell phones, jewelry, and body piercings.

Will I be alone?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)Yes, you will be alone in the room. However, the tech will be right outside the room watching through the glass. We will be able to speak to each other. You are provided with a call button that you can press in an emergency. There is also an option for headphones or music to make this experience more pleasant.

Can the technician or staff tell me what they saw?

No, we are unable to discuss the results. The technician/staff does not read the actual images; the reading comes from a physician, the radiologist.

Do I have to have that coil on my head? Knee? Etc…

Yes, the coil is a part of the antennae system that images the anatomy.

Why is it so cold in the room?

The cool temperature helps maintain the working environment for the magnet.

Am I going into a tunnel?

Yes, it has openings at the front and the back of the scanner. The part of your of body being scanned will be in the tunnel.

Can I be sedated?

Yes, but only in severe cases of clausterphobia and if ordered by a physician. Sedation is not preferred when imaging as the patient cannot cooperate with the technicians or hold their breath. Instructions from the technician and the ability to hold one’s breath is important for both image quality and to the interpreting radiologist.

Is the contrast/dye the same as the dye used in CT?

No, the contrast for MRI is gadolinium, a separate agent. CT and MRI contrast allergies are unrelated.

Why do I need contrast?

Contrast enhances imaging, which provides the interpreting radiologist with more information. In certain instances contrast is necessary, especially in studies involving the body and the brain.

Why do I need an injection?

Some studies require an injection to highlight certain areas of concern.

Will my head be in the scanner?

It depends on the exam ordered. If your physician has ordered an MRI of your brain then your head needs to be in the center of the machine to get accurate images. Other studies that might require your body to be in the scanner are shoulder, neck, or arm studies.

Are dental fillings okay in the scanner?

Yes.

Why didn’t my doctor tell me I was getting an IV?

Some exams are done without IV and some exams are. It is up to the discretion of the radiologist whether or not the exam is to be performed with an IV.

Why do I have to undress and put on a gown? I am not wearing any metal.

The magnet on the MRI is very strong. For your safety, most sites require that all patients undress and put on a gown to make sure we do not get any artifacts from threads or hidden metal in your clothing. We want to also make sure nothing obscures the images.

Is there radiation?

No, the MRI uses a magnet and radio waves and not radiation.

Do I need to hold still?

Yes, the machine is very motion sensitive so any movement may impair the images.

How long will the exam take?

The time depends on the type of MRI exam that you are having. Some exams last about an hour, but the majority of exams usually take about 30 minutes. If you have any questions about how long your exam will take please ask one of the schedulers or technicians.

Why does the machine make such a loud noise during the exam?

That noise is the machine working. Headphones and music are available to make your experience more pleasant.

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