Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic field and radio frequency pulses to provide clear and detailed diagnostic images of internal body organs and tissues. MRI is a valuable tool for diagnosing a wide range of conditions, including, but not limited to:
- Joint and musculoskeletal disorders
MRI allows evaluation of some bodily structures that may not be as visible with other diagnostic imaging methods.
What are some common uses of MRI?
Imaging of the Musculoskeletal System. MRI is often used to study the knee, ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. MRI is used as way to accurately evaluate soft tissue structures such as tendons and ligaments. Many subtle injuries are easily detected. Additionally, MRI is used to diagnose spinal problems, including disc herniation, spinal stenosis, and spinal tumors.
Imaging of the Head and Spine. MRI for neurological/brain imaging and spine studies provides outstanding image quality for diagnosis. The MRI software offers many mode and viewing options including the ability to reconstruct and rotate images to show vessels of the brain. MRI studies offer enhanced images of vascular structures.
Imaging for Cancer and Functional Disorders. Organs of the chest and abdomen, such as the liver, lungs, kidney and other abdominal organs, can be examined in great detail with MRI. This aids in the diagnosis and evaluation of tumors and functional disorders. Furthermore, because no radiation exposure is involved, MRI is often used for examination of the male and female reproductive systems.
What is an MRA?
Magnetic Resonance Angiography is used to examine blood vessels in the body and is useful for detecting disease processes such as atherosclerosis and aneurysms. In some cases, a contrast material is used to enhance the pictures of the blood vessels throughout the body.
What to expect during an MRI and how to prepare
Most MRI exams do not require special preparation, and you may eat normally and take medications as usual unless your doctor has given you other instructions. If your exam does require any fasting or other preparation, you will be informed during your appointment confirmation call.
An MRI exam generally takes 20-45 minutes. More detailed studies could take longer. You will be asked to lie down on a sliding table where our technologist will carefully position you. The technologist will leave the room for your exam, but you will be able to communicate with them at any time using an intercom. In certain circumstances, a friend or family member will be allowed to stay in the room with you during the exam.
You will be asked to remain very still during the imaging process. Depending on the part of the body that is being examined, a contrast material may be used to enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels. Our technologist will place a small needle in your arm or hand vein, and an IV will run a saline solution through the intravenous line to prevent clotting. The contrast material will be injected about two-thirds of the way through the exam.
This is a painless procedure. Some claustrophobic patients may experience a “closed in” feeling. If this is a concern, please inform you technologist and a sedative may be administered. Patients may also take advantage of our new entertainment system called Cinema Vision. Patients are able to watch TV during their scan which greatly lessens the anxiety of being in an MRI machine. During the exam you can expect to hear loud tapping or thumping. In an attempt to block out the noise, you can choose music, earplugs or both. It is normal to feel warmth in the area being examined. You may feel a cool sensation at the site during injection.
Because the strong magnetic field used for MRI may impact surgically placed implants or objects, we carefully screen each patient for metallic implants. You should also bring the written prescription for the exam from your doctor.
Please let us know if you have any of the following prior to your scan:
- Implanted Port
- Infusion Catheter
- Vascular Stent
- Aneurysm Clip
- Other Metallic Implant
- Heart Stent
- Shrapnel or non-removed bullet
- Metal in Eye
Some implanted objects are safe and can be imaged with MRI, while others are not and those patients would not be allowed to have an MRI. Please inform the Griffin Imaging staff if you have any of the above mentioned items. Your technologist will be happy to answer any questions you may have.