Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a safe painless means of diagnosing numerous diseases. Unlike x-ray and CT, no radiation is used.
What can MRI diagnosis?
- Acute and Chronic strokes, aneurysms, neurodegenerative disorders
- Joint abnormalities such as rotator cuff tears of the shoulder and meniscal tears of the knee
- Degenerative changes of the spine including disc herniation
- Cancer affecting the abdominal organs, bones and soft tissues
What do I need to do to prepare for an MRI? Will I have limitations for the rest of the day?
Generally, no preparation is needed.
As was stated above, if you are claustrophobic, please discuss this with the doctor who is ordering your exam beforehand so measures can be taken to make you as comfortable as possible.
Please advise the staff if:
- You have a cardiac pacemaker or artificial heart valve
- You have a metal plate, pin, surgical staples or clips, or other metallic implant
- You have aneurysm clips
- You have an inner ear implant
- You have an intrauterine device, such as Copper-T IUD
- You have permanent eyeliner (tattoo)
- You have any metal fragments in your eye or in your body
- You have ever been a metal worker
- You have a biostimulator
It is okay to have an MRI with joint replacements (as long as you are 6-8 weeks post surgery) and dental hardware/fillings.
There are no limitations on your activities for the rest of the day. If you received sedation you will need someone to drive you home and you should refrain from driving for the remainder of the day.
What can I expect during an MRI?
MR imaging requires more time than an x-ray or CT. Depending on the body part being imaged, you may be imaged for 20-45 minutes. If your doctor orders multiple studies to be done at the same time, the length of the procedure will increase.
You will be asked to remove all jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aide, dentures, credit/bank cards, and any metallic objects. These may affect the quality of the images produced or cause harm or discomfort to you when placed within the magnetic field.
There will be no sensation, discomfort or pain associated with the exam. You will, however, hear knocking/thumping noises from time to time. This is normal, and you may wear earplugs to muffle these noises. At several of our imaging centers you can listen to music during your exam.
It is important to lie as still as possible. Movement may cause unsatisfactory images and necessitate a repeat of the exam.
Also, in some cases, your physician may order an injection of a contrast agent to enhance the diagnostic capabilities of the exam. If so, this will be administered and supervised by our on-site qualified technicians.
Some people experience claustrophobia during an MRI exam. If you have problems with small spaces, your doctor may prescribe you oral medication to help with these symptoms. Sometimes, MRI can be performed under conscious sedation with IV medications and monitoring by nursing staff. This needs to be scheduled prior to your exam. Please discuss such concerns with your doctor prior to scheduling your MRI. This way we can make sure you are as comfortable as possible during your exam.
What about an open MRI?
There are no open MRI machines at our imaging locations. The image quality of open MRI scanners is not as good as traditional closed MRI scanners and can limit the ability of our radiologists to diagnosis disease.