Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI, is a noninvasive, painless way to look inside the body to see your organs and other body tissues. The purpose of an MRI is to find changes in your body that can lead to diagnosis and treatment of disease. MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create images of your organs and tissues. MRI does not use radiation, and there are no known side effects.
Since MRI uses a magnet, certain types of metal will interfere with the study. An MRI may not be performed if you have a pacemaker, metal clips in the brain (placed to stop bleeding), or cochlear implants in the ear. You will be asked several questions about past surgeries or injuries before your study to ensure you can safely have the MRI exam. Please let the technologist know of any metal you have on, or in your body. If you are pregnant, or think you might be pregnant, or have a questionable implant, call the location where your appointment is scheduled prior to your appointment. If you have documentation or an implant identification card please bring this information with you. The technologist will research the implant(s) to check for their safety and compatibility before you enter the magnet room. For most exams, you may eat and drink before your MRI.
Before entering the MRI room, please remove: glasses, pens and pencils, hearing aids, hair accessories, dentures and partial plates, infusion insulin pumps, jewelry, TENS units, coins, credit cards and bank cards, wallets and purses, keys, pocketknives, pagers, phones, and safety pins. Women may be asked to remove make-up for certain types of MRI exams.
We recommend that you wear comfortable, athletic-style clothing without metal snaps or zippers. You may need to wear an exam gown during the study because snaps, zippers, hooks, belt buckles, and any other metal objects on your clothing affect the quality of the images.
During your MRI you will lie on a comfortable padded table. The table then moves into the MRI machine. During most MRI exams you may hear loud thumping or knocking sounds while the machine is working. If the noise from the machine is uncomfortable for you, headphones are available to you during most exams. You will be able to speak with the technologist during the MRI by intercom if you have any concerns you would like to inform them about. It is very important that you lie as still as possible so the best possible picture can be obtained. The time spent on your MRI will vary based on body part and exam protocol, however in general each exam typically lasts about 30 minutes. A contrast material may be used for some MRI studies. If contrast is needed, it will be injected by IV during the MRI. Should you feel any discomfort from the contrast, please inform the technologist.
You will be free to leave the facility and resume normal activities as your health permits. A radiologist reads your MRI, and the results are reported directly back to your doctor.