Medical Library

Medical Library

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

What is MRI?
The MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) exam is a safe and painless procedure that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce highly detailed images of your body without the use of x-rays. We use these images to help your doctor in making rapid, accurate diagnosis of many diseases and conditions.

Common uses of the procedure?
MRI can be used to see the smallest structures in your body with a clarity that other imaging techniques cannot match. It is frequently used to examine the brain, nerves, spinal cord, musculoskeletal areas (bones and joints), breasts and abdominal and pelvic organs. In some cases, you may receive an injection of contrast materials to enhance the images and provide more information about your condition.

MR Angiography (MRA) is another technique on the MRI scanner that’s used to look at blood vessels in key areas of the body, and identify signs of arterial or vascular disease.

Patient Preparation
You will be asked to lie down on a comfortable, padded table. Our technicians will make sure you are properly positioned and relaxed. Based on the type of MRI you are having, the scans last approximately 20 to 45 minutes.The machine produces a knocking sound but is completely painless, and you can communicate with the technologist at all times via intercom. You can even listen to music throughout the procedure. To ensure your MRI goes as smoothly as possible, please review the information below:
  • You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing with no metal buttons, zippers or grommets to your appointment. You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure. 
  • Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan because they can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI unit. These include eyeglasses and watches, as well as other objects such as credit cards, cell phones and pagers. 
  • Unless you are told otherwise, you may follow your regular daily routine and take medications as usual.
  • If you have claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a prescription for a mild sedative. 
As with any medical procedure, please inform the technologist if you think you may be pregnant. Typically, pregnant women should not have this exam because the risks of MRI to the baby are unknown. In some cases, however, your physician may have decided that the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks and this should be communicated.

Depending on the type of MRI you are having, other preparations may be required.
  • Contrast MRI – Our technologist may ask if you have allergies of any kind such as hay fever, hives, allergic asthma, or to food or drugs. You should know, however, that the contrast material used does not contain iodine and is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
  • MRI/MRA of the brain or the head – Do not wear eye make-up. Tooth fillings and braces may distort images of these areas so make sure the radiologist is aware of them. 
  • Abdominal MRI  – You will need to fast, having nothing to eat or drink for at least 4 hours before the exam. 
  • MRCP – You will need to fast, having nothing to eat or drink for at least 8 hours before the exam. 

Special precautions for those with implants, electronic devices or other metal objects within their bodies.People with the following implants cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI area: 

  • Internal (implanted) defibrillator 
  • Cochlear (ear) implant 
  • Clips used on brain aneurysms 
If you have any of the following devices or objects in your body, let your technologist know because they may interfere with the exam or potentially pose a risk:
  • Artificial heart valves 
  • Implanted drug infusion ports 
  • Infusion catheter 
  • Intrauterine device (IUD) 
  • Implanted electronic device, including a cardiac pacemaker 
  • Artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses 
  • Implanted nerve stimulators 
  • Metal pins, screws, plates or surgical staples
  • Shrapnel

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