Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio waves, to create images of the body’s internal organs and structures. The MRI does not use any radiation. MRI provides physicians more detailed information that can’t otherwise be seen on other imaging methods such as x-rays, ultrasound exams, or CT scans. In some cases an intravenous (IV) contrast may be used during the MRI exam to show abnormal tissue more clearly.
An MRI exam may be performed to evaluate the:
- Head—looking for brain tumors, aneurysm & nerve injury
- Chest—looking at the heart, valves, and coronary blood vessels
- Blood vessels—looking at the flow of blood through the blood vessels & possible aneurysm
- Abdomen and pelvis—looking for tumors, bleeding, infection, and blockages in the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder
- Bones and joints—looking for arthritis, bone marrow problems, bone tumors, cartilage problems, torn ligaments, torn tendons, or infection
- Spine—looking at the discs and nerves for conditions such as spinal stenosis, disc bulges, and spinal tumors
- Breast—used to detect and stage breast cancer and other breast abnormalities
Frequently Asked Questions
Can anyone have an MRI? No. The presence of metal in your body may be a safety hazard or affect a portion of the MRI image. Tell the technologist if you have any metal or electronic devices in your body, such as:
- Metallic joint prostheses
- Artificial heart valves
- An implantable heart defibrillator
- A pacemaker
- Metal clips to prevent aneurysms from leaking
- Cochlear implants
- A bullet, shrapnel or any other type of metal fragment
Also tell the technologist if you think you're pregnant. Your doctor may recommend choosing an alternative exam or postponing the MRI.
It's also important to discuss any kidney or liver problems with your physician and the technologist, because problems with these organs may impose limitations on the use of injected contrast agents during your scan.
Does my head have to go in the scanner? The body part being evaluated or imaged must be in the center of the scanner, therefore most upper body exams will require you to go in the machine head first.
Where will someone be while I’m in the scanner? The technologist will be just outside the scanner door at the opening console. The technologist will also be in visual and verbal contact with you through the glass during your exam.
Do I have to hold my breath the whole time I’m in the machine? No; however, you may be asked to hold your breath for specific exams for a period of 30 seconds or less as we are obtaining the images.
How will you know if I need you? The technologist will be in contact with you throughout the test. You will also have a call button.
What if I feel claustrophobic? Our technologists are skilled at helping you feel relaxed and comfortable during your exam. It often helps to listen to music during your exam. If you are claustrophobic, you can get request medication from your doctor prior to your scan.
Will I be able to drive after the exam? Yes, as long as you did not have to take an oral sedative for your exam.
To schedule a MRI, please call (239) 624-4443