What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is an advanced method which allows your doctor to “see” inside the human body, very clear pictures, or images, of the soft tissues (muscles, fat and internal organs) without the use of X-rays and CT Scanning. Using two natural, safe forces–magnetic fields and radio waves – this unique imaging technique can look through hard bones to examine underlying soft tissue.
It is important to tell your physician if your body contains a pacemaker, surgical or aneurysm clips, metal implants or prostheses or unremoved bullets, shrapnel or metallic foreign bodies. Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant.
MRI is commonly used by physicians as a primary diagnostic tool. It can help provide a quick and more accurate diagnosis for physicians which, in some situations, can reduce the need for exploratory surgery and other diagnostic procedures.
How Should I Get Ready for My Exam?
There is no special preparation for the exam. When you arrive at our office, please feel free to ask about matters that concern you. We want you to be comfortable.
We recommend that you dress comfortably, for example, sweatsuits or fleecewear. If your clothing contains zippers, metal snaps or buttons or metallic trimming, we’ll ask you to change into examination clothes provided by our office.
For safekeeping, we will ask you to give us anything that might be affected or attracted by the magnet – credit or bank cards, coins, keys, watches, bobbie pins, jewelry, etc. These possessions will be placed in your own locked compartment until your MR is completed.
Bring your own CD or request your favorite radio station and relax. Our facility has been carefully designed for your comfort and well-being.
Are there any risks or pain associated with having an MRI?
Besides being a totally painless examination, MRI poses no known side or after effects, making it a safe procedure for practically everyone. Please consult your physician and feel free to call CMI at any time.
What Will My MRI Experience Be?
Although MRI is a very advanced medical technique, the MR exam is probably one of the easiest and most comfortable exams you may ever experience. In fact, you may bring your favorite CD with you or request a special radio station during the exam. You may eat normally and go about your daily routine. The technologist will simply ask you to lie down on a cushioned table which will automatically move into the magnet area after you have been comfortably positioned for scanning. The technologist will leave the magnet room but you will be in contact with him or her throughout the entire exam.
When the MR exam begins, you will hear a tapping to a hammering sound which will last for several minutes. Just relax – enjoy your music or even take a nap – but try to lie as still as possible since any movement during this time will blur the picture. The exam will last 15 to 60 minutes.
In some cases, patients may require an injection of gadolinium (a ferromagnetic contrast agent which enhances the visual properties for final diagnosis). This is accomplished by a nurse or a physician at CMI.
How Will I Find Out the Results?
Your MRI images are examined by one of our physicians for interpretation, who then will consult with your doctor. Your doctor will then discuss the results with you.