Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce more detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. This painless, non-invasive test may be used to help diagnose or monitor treatment for a variety of conditions affecting the abdomen, brain, breasts, chest, pelvis, prostate, spine and more. After the MR scanner captures the series of images, the images can then be studied from different angles by the radiologist.

Before the Procedure

Unless you are told otherwise, you may follow your regular daily routine and take food and medications as usual. You should tell the technologist if you have medical conditions, have had surgery recently or have medical or electronic devices in your body. Women should always inform their radiologist if they are breastfeeding/if they may be pregnant. If you have claustrophobia or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a mild sedative prior to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear and asked to remove jewelry, hearing aids and removable dental work.

During the Procedure

The technologist begins by positioning you on the moving exam table. Straps and bolsters may be used to help you stay still and maintain the correct position. If your radiologist wants to use a contrast dye during your MRI, an intravenous (IV) line will be put in a vein in your hand or arm and the dye will be injected into the IV line during the scan. You will be placed into the magnet of the MRI unit and the radiologist and technologist will perform the exam while working at a computer outside of the room. The entire exam is usually completed within 45 minutes.

After the Procedure

When the exam is complete, you will be asked to wait until the technologist verifies that the images are of high enough quality for accurate interpretation. Once this has been confirmed, the IV line will be removed, and you can return to your normal activities. Depending on the results of the MRI, additional tests or procedures may be scheduled to gather further diagnostic information.

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