MRI – Patient Information
Our focus and commitment is to provide our patients with exceptional diagnostic imaging along with compassionate patient care in the delivery of high field MRI imaging. To that end, we invite you to review the materials below to acquaint yourself with the process of preparing for your MRI exam. We look forward to serving you.
What is MRI ?
MRI stands for “magnetic resonance imaging”. It’s a non-invasive, revolutionary process that enables doctors to “see” right through bone as well as evaluate soft tissue inside your body, without surgery and without the radiation that is used in x-rays and CT scans.
In simple terms, this is how it works: the MRI scanner creates a strong pull that aligns your body’s protons in the same direction. Next, a radio signal is beamed into the magnetic field, causing the protons to move out of alignment. When the beam stops, the protons line up once again, releasing energy as they move. Different types of tissue release slightly different signals, which are measured by a receiver coil. A computer translates the measurements into a highly accurate image of your internal anatomy.
Conditions that may only be apparent from physical signs and symptoms can be clearly seen using MRI. Diagnostic-quality MR images provide highly accurate information to your primary care provider, who is then able to prescribe the appropriate treatment.
The level of detail an MRI scan provides means there can be much greater accuracy in the early detection and treatment of disease. Early treatment is often less expensive and much more successful – which means MRI can save both time and money and, in some cases, early detection can also save a life. In addition, MRI exams use NO radiation and pose no known health concerns.
Preparing & Scheduling Your MRI
Your MRI requires very little effort on your part. It’s a simple process, but preparation is essential!
Typically the doctor’s office will schedule your exam for you and we will get all of the information we need from them, but if you call to schedule your MRI, we will ask a number of questions to ensure we’re prepared the day of your exam. You will need to inform us if:
- you are pregnant
- you’ve ever had surgery
- you’re on pain medication
- you’re claustrophobic
- you have an incident of metal to your eyes
- you have cardiac valve replacements or a pacemaker, bone or joint replacements, or aneurysm clips
These conditions may not exclude you from having an MRI scan, but they’ll be important determining factors.
The Day of Your MRI
- Your first task for this day is simple: Relax. Typically you can eat normally and take prescribed medication the day of your MRI exam. If you are having an examination of the abdominal area your physician may request that you abstain from eating prior to your scan.
- For your personal comfort, you may want to have someone accompany you. He or she may be able to sit and talk with you during the exam. If you would like, you may bring an iPod or CD to listen to your choice of music during the MRI.
- We recommend you wear comfortable clothing, free of snaps and zippers. Since rings, watches, and earrings are all metal, and thus, could interfere with your scan, you may decide to leave them at home.
You will check in at the admissions desk inside the hospital. They will have you complete the necessary paperwork and have a comfortable area for you to wait for the technologist to escort you to the MRI coach.
Please be prepared to provide information on your insurance and medical history. Your technologist will be happy to discuss all aspects of your MRI exam and answer any remaining questions you may have at that time.
To begin the examination, your technologist will help you lie down on a padded table. You will be positioned so that the part of your body to be examined lies in the center of the machine. A coil may be attached to the part of the body to be scanned, and your physician may request that a contrast agent be injected (to enhance the images). The table will then slide into the center of the MRI machine.
You will be asked to hold still for short periods of time while the scan is in progress. Expect to hear a loud knocking noise from the machine as the pictures are taken. Your technologist will be monitoring the exam from an adjoining room will be able to hear you and talk with you at all times.
After The Exam
When the scan is complete, your technologist will help you leave the scanner. In most cases, you may return to your normal activities immediately after the procedure.
One of our skilled radiologists located at Inland Imaging will make an expert interpretation of the images and prepare a written report to be sent to your referring provider. Your provider will review the findings of the MRI in the context of your overall condition and discuss them with you to plan your treatment. Your provider may choose to monitor your progress with another MRI scan in the future.