Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic technique that uses a magnetic field to produce pictures of structures inside the body.
During a MRI, your body is in a very strong magnetic field. The MRI scanner also uses pulses of radio waves. The scanner creates an image based on the way hydrogen atoms in your body react to the magnetic field and the radio waves. MRI signals can give an image of a single slice of any part of the body, much like a slice of bread in a loaf. Usually, the images are created of several “slices” of an organ or part of the body.
What It’s Used For
MRI scans have many uses. Below is brief list outlining a few of the reasons an MRI may be ordered:
Help to determine if someone has had a stroke
Diagnosis various orthopedic and back injuries
Support a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis
- Identify problems of the brain and spinal cord that may not be seen on a computed tomography (CT) scan.
- Detect cancerous tumors in many organs, including the brain, spinal cord, lung, liver and bone.
Help to determine whether a lump in a woman’s breast is cancer or noncancerous fibrocystic disease or to pinpoint cancers in women who have very dense breast tissue or implants.
Because MRI uses a strong magnetic field that can move metal objects. You cannot have a MRI scan if you have a metallic implant such as a pacemaker or implanted pump, or some types of metal surgical clips. You also may need to avoid a MRI scan if you have an implanted device. One of our technologists will ask you several questions prior to starting the exam to confirm that it is ok for you to have the procedure.
MRI scanners make loud knocking sounds. The MRI Tech will offer ear plugs to wear during the scan. You will be given a button that you can press if you have any needs and be able to speak to the technologist.
How It’s Done
MRI is a painless technique that usually takes about 30-60 minutes depending on the type of MRI being performed. You will be asked to remove all metal jewelry and to lie on a scanning table. You will need to lie very still during the procedure, and you will periodically hear loud knocking noises as the scanner works. The technologist operating the machine will be in another room. However, they will be able to talk to you through speakers in the machine.
While most patients find having a MRI a comfortable experience, some patients may experience some anxiety from having the sides of the machine close to their body. Our scanner is open on both ends. If you tend to feel anxious in tight places, you may want to ask your physician for medication to help you relax during the procedure. A picture of the MRI scanner is shown on this page of the website.
If your physician gave you a sedative or tranquilizer to make you more comfortable during scanning, you may be drowsy after your MRI procedure, and you may not be able to drive safely. Have a friend or family member available to take you home.
Your MRI scan will be read by a Radiologist who will share the results with your physician.