MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging
MRI is a noninvasive imaging technique used to look at your organs, tissues, and skeletal system. It produces high-resolution images that help diagnose a variety of problems. The MRI machine is a tube that is open on both ends and is approximately 4-5 feet long and 60-70 cm round.
You lie on a padded table that slides you into the opening of the tube, and a technologist monitors you from another room. You can talk with the technologist by squeezing a ball and talking thru a microphone. If you have a fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), you can request a medicine from you doctor to help you feel sleepy and less anxious. We also have CinemaVision that can help you or your child thru your exam with movies or music. Most people are able to get through the exam without difficulty.
Please bring your appointment letter along with any health insurance cards or forms.
Important note: If you are pregnant or think that you could be pregnant, you must notify your physician and the MRI technologist at the MRI department prior to the procedure.
You won’t be allowed to wear or carry anything metallic during the MRI exam, so it would be best to leave watches, jewelry, or anything made from metal at home. Even some cosmetics contain small amounts of metal, so it is best to not wear make-up.
Because MRI uses powerful magnets, the presence of metal in your body may be a safety hazard or can affect some of the images. Before having an MRI, please tell the technologist if you have any metal or electronic devices in your body, such as:
- Metallic implant
- Heart valves
- Implantable heart defibrillator (ICD)
- Aneurysm clips
- Implanted drug infusion device
- Cochlear implants
- Bullet, shrapnel, or any other type of metal fragment
- Dentures/teeth with magnetic keepers
- Foreign metal objects, especially if in or near the eye
What to Expect
Prior to beginning the exam, you will change into a hospital gown and pants. You will also be asked to remove all jewelry, medicine patches, and electronic devices, such as hearing aids or insulin pumps.
With some exams, a contrast material (gadolinium), may be injected through an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your arm. The contrast enhances the appearance of vessels, scar tissue, and abnormalities. The contrast material used for MRIs is different than the kind used in CT scans and usually can be given even if you are allergic to CT contrast. A small percentage of the population is allergic to the MRI contrast. If you happen to be allergic, tell your ordering doctor and the MRI department prior to scheduling.
The MRI exam is performed in a special room that houses the MRI system or scanner. You will be escorted into the room by a staff member of the MRI department and asked to lie down on a padded table that gently glides you into the scanner. You will be required to wear earplugs to protect your hearing because the MRI scanner will produce loud noises. These loud noises are normal. The most important thing for you to do is to relax and remain still. Most MRI exams take between 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the body part imaged and how many images are needed, although some may take 60 to 90 minutes or longer. You must hold very still because movement can blur the resulting images. Once the MRI examination is completed, the pictures will be reviewed by a radiologist. The radiologist will send your doctor a report.
With CinemaVision, patients can relax in a virtual comfort zone and enjoy favorite movies and musical entertainment during their MRI exams. We care about patient comfort and are proud to offer a state-of-the-art, MRI-compatible entertainment system to complement our state-of-the-art scanner. Studies have shown that MRI entertainment can help soothe anxious patients and minimize the claustrophobia that can disrupt exams. The result is often faster and more accurate exams and less time-consuming re-scans — leading to better and faster diagnoses.
Our Cinemavision system delivers sharp, realistic audio-video entertainment from standard CDs, DVDs, and video. Patients can even bring along their favorite movie or CD.
If you or your child is receiving anesthesia/sedation for the exam, you will be called a week prior to confirm your appointment, and you will receive instructions on preparation and what to expect after the MRI. On day of the exam, if you remember, pick up a wheelchair for after the exam because your child may still be quite drowsy. Free valet parking is available. If you are unsure of how to get to the MRI department once arriving at the hospital, navigators are located at the front entrance of the main hospital and will be able to escort you. Upon arrival to MRI and prior to exams being completed, family members and patients will meet the anesthesia team to ask questions. It is recommended that only two family members accompany the patient into the preparation area.