Magnetic Resonance Imaging
If you are pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, or are breastfeeding, please be sure to let your technician know PRIOR to undergoing any radiology procedure.
What is an MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a diagnostic test that uses a strong magnetic field and high frequency radio waves to produce a series of images of your head or body. It does not use any x-rays, radioactive materials or other forms of ionizing radiation.
MRI exams can be performed on most body parts, including the head, chest, abdomen, pelvis, vital organs, joints and long bones of the upper and lower extremities. It also provides the ability to diagnose abnormalities of blood vessels in the brain, neck and other parts of the body.
What is an MRI?
All of our equipment is maintained by highly trained service engineers and meets or exceeds the operating specifications set forth by the manufacturers and the federal government.
Because the scanners use a very powerful magnet to create the images, the presence of any metallic objects inside your body may interfere with your scan. You will be asked to complete a safety screening questionnaire and any implanted object/device will be verified for safety in the magnetic field prior to scanning. Patients with pacemakers or defibrillators are generally not a candidate for MR imaging as these devices are contraindicated for imaging in a magnetic field.
Preparing for Your MRI:
Very little preparation is required for a MRI scan. You can eat, drink, and take your medication as normal. Prior to the scan, you are encouraged to go to the bathroom due to the length of the examination.
You will be asked to remove all metallic items such as watches, jewelry, hair pins, eyeglasses, and hearing aids. Also, do not take any credit, bank, parking or insurance cards into the scan room because the magnet will erase the information on the magnetic strip. A locker will be provided for the safe keeping of your valuables. You should take the locker key into the magnet room with you for the security of your valuables but it must be left in an area that is designated to be safe by the technologist.
It is important for you to bring a list of your current medications with you, so we will know what you may have taken prior to your MRI exam.
Food and Drink
For most MRI exams there are no restrictions on what you may eat or drink. For the exceptions, instructions may be given at the time your appointment is scheduled and/or you may receive written instructions on a printed itinerary that will be mailed to you after your appointment is scheduled.
When to Arrive
For routine imaging and for adults receiving contrast, you will be asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled scan time. This time is necessary for you to complete our required paperwork, change your clothes and discuss your exam with the technologist and discuss the sedation process with an MRI nurse or anesthesia personnel, as applicable.
What to Wear
For all MRI exams, we ask you wear loose-fitting comfortable clothing that does not have any metal or plastic on it. Plastic buttons and metal clasps on jeans are okay. We will provide you with a locker if necessary. We recommend that you leave jewelry and other valuables at home. You will be required to remove hearing aids, eyeglasses and dentures (depending on the type of scan to be performed) prior to your MRI scan.
Intravenous Contrast Material
If your exam was ordered with the use of contrast, a trained technologist or nurse will administer it through an IV in your arm about half way through the exam. MRI contrast is very safe and usually does not cause any allergic reactions.
Recent information from the FDA suggest using caution when administering contrast to any patient that has a history of renal (kidney) problems. We may perform lab work prior to your exam if there is a concern regarding your kidney function.
Based on your lab results and the type of exam ordered, our radiologist will determine whether the contrast can be safely administered to you.
What Happens During the Exam?
After you have removed all metal objects, the technologist will escort you into the scanner room and position you on the scanning table. Your head will be placed in a padded plastic cradle or on a pillow and the table will slide into the scanner.
The part of your body being scanned will be placed in the center of the tunnel. The technologist will leave the room, but they can see you through the observation window and will communicate with you periodically during the scan through an intercom. While the scanner is taking your pictures, you will hear rapidly repeating, loud thumping noises coming from the walls of the scanner, therefore earplugs will be provided.
Any movement, especially of your head or back during this time will seriously blur the pictures. During scanning, you should breathe quietly and normally, but otherwise refrain from any movement, coughing or wiggling. Some exams may require you to hold your breath for a short time and the technologist will give you instructions if this is necessary.
When the thumping noise stops, the pictures will be processing and you may relax for a few seconds, but you must refrain from changing your position or moving. This will usually be repeated several times and the entire exam ordinarily takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete.
If your exam was ordered with the use of contrast, a trained technologist or nurse will administer it through the IV in your arm about halfway through the exam. MRI contrast is very safe and usually does not cause any allergic reactions.
Your physician or our medical staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning your MRI exam. Please notify us 24 hours in advance if possible, if you are unable to keep an appointment.