Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic imaging technique that combines a powerful magnetic field with computer technology to produce detailed images of the body’s soft tissue. Because certain atoms in our cells respond, or “resonate,” slightly in the presence of magnetic fields, MRI is able to use that response to create detailed computer representation of internal organs, muscles, connective tissue, and the central nervous system. MRI doesn’t expose patients to radioactive materials, x-rays, or any form of ionizing radiation. To the best of our knowledge, MRI produces no harmful side effects.

Upon arrival, patients are welcomed by a receptionist who will request pertinent insurance information. Patients are asked to fill out paperwork and submit their insurance cards.

This will be followed by a brief interview with an MRI technologist who will discuss the MRI procedure and confirm all safety screening questions.

Patients will recline on a cushioned MRI table, and because the machine is rather loud, they are offered either earplugs or a headset to listen to music and to hear instructions from the technologist. During the scan patients will hear the machine making various thumping and buzzing noises.

Depending on the type of MRI scan, plan on spending from 1 hour to an hour and a half for the entire visit. The most important role of the patient is to relax and lie perfectly still during the scan, because the MRI equipment is very sensitive to motion. Even the slightest movement can distort and limit the diagnostic value of the scan.

Although MRI is a safe and painless exam, the patient does need to enter a magnetic field for the exam. Therefore, there are some conditions that may interfere with the quality and/or may prevent a patient from having an MRI exam.

  • A pacemaker
  • A metal plate, pin or other metallic implant
  • Cochlear implants/metallic ear implants
  • Aneurysm clips
  • An artificial heart valve
  • An intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Are pregnant
  • Have ever been exposed to any metal fragments through war wounds, as a metal worker, or construction, house cleaning, or painting work
  • Any metallic chips or splinters in the eye (welding or grinding, even if as a hobby)

There are no dietary restrictions before an MRI, however, there are some precautions that patients can take to ensure their safety.

  • Hairspray
  • Jewelry – please leave at home
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing Aid
  • Makeup
  • Metallic Nail Polish

Any removable dental work (dentures included)

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