What is MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, uses strong magnet and radio waves to provide clear and detailed diagnostic images of internal body organs and tissues. MRI is a valuable tool for the diagnosis of a broad range of conditions, including:

  • cancer
  • heart and vascular disease
  • stroke
  • joint and musculoskeletal disorders

MRI allows evaluation of body structures that may not be as visible with other diagnostic imaging methods.

What are some common uses of MRI?

Imaging of the Musculoskeletal System and Imaging for Cancer & Functional Disorders.

How should I prepare for an MRI?

  • Before your MRI exam, remove all accessories including hair pins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wigs, dentures. During the exam, these metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field, affecting the quality of the MRI images taken.
  • Notify your technologist if you have:
    • any prosthetic joints - hip, knee.
    • a heart pacemaker (or artificial heart valve), defibrillator or artificial heart value.
    • an intrauterine device (IUD).
    • any metal plates, pins, screws, or surgical staples in your body.
    • tattoos and permanent make-up.
    • a bullet or shrapnel in your body, or ever worked with metal.
    • if you might be pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
    • if you are claustrophobic. Some patients who undergo MRI in an enclosed unit may feel confined. If you are not easily reassured, a sedative may be administered.

What should I expect during this procedure?

Depending on how many images are needed, the exam generally takes 15 to 45 minutes. However, very detailed studies may take longer.

  • You must lie down on a sliding table and be comfortably positioned.
  • You will always be able to communicate with our technologist at any time using an intercom.
  • You will be asked to remain still during the actual imaging process. No movement is allowed between sequences.
  • Depending on the part of the body being examined, a contrast material may be used to enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels. A small needle is placed in your arm or hand vein and a saline solution IV drip will run through the intravenous line to prevent clotting. About two-thirds of the way through the exam, the contrast material is injected.

What will I experience during an MRI?

  • MRI is painless. If a contrast injection is needed, there may be some discomfort at the injection site. You may also feel a cool sensation at the site during the injection.
  • Some claustrophobic patients may experience a "closed in" feeling. If this is a concern, a sedative may be necessary. Please contact your referring physician for medication.
  • You will hear loud tapping or thumping during the exam. We will provide you with ear plugs, or headphones depending on your preference.
  • You may feel warmth in the area being examined. This is normal.

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