Step-By-Step Patient Guide
I. What is an MRI Scan? An MRI scan is a diagnostic imaging study that allows your physician to look inside your body without the use of radiation, x-rays or surgery. The MRI uses magnetism and radio waves to produce pictures of your head, spine and other parts of your body. These images are used to distinguish normal, healthy soft tissue from unhealthy, pathological tissue. Depending on what information your doctor needs, the MRI scan may require the use of a contrast agent given intravenously to assist in visualizing certain structures in your body.
II. Preparing for an MRI. No special preparation is needed prior to the exam unless your doctor has given you other instructions. You will be asked to complete a health history form so we can proceed with your exam in a safe manner. You will be asked to remove all: jewelry, watches, hairpins, glasses, wallets keys, piercings, nylon tights, credit cards, phone cards and other metallic objects. An MRI works with a strong magnet. Please tell us if you have any of the following: aneurysm clip, cardiac pacemaker, implanted cardioverter defibrillator, electronic implant or device, magnetically-activated implant or device, neurostimulation system, spinal cord stimulator, cochlear implant or implanted hearing aid, insulin or infusion pump, implanted drug infusion device, any type of prosthesis or implant, artificial or prosthetic limb, any metallic fragment, internal metallic object or hearing aid.
III. What Happens during an MRI scan? The scan will take approximately 15 to 45 minutes depending on the type scan your physician ordered. Our MRI system allows your head to stay outside the magnet bore during most examinations except head, neck and upper back exams. The technologist will position you on a padded table and the table will then slide into the scanner. You will always be able to speak with the technologist through a speaker. The system produces a knocking sound which represents that the exam is proceeding as required. Ear protection is available and we can play your favorite music CD or MP3 player.
IV. Finding out the Results. Our Board Certified Radiologist will study your examination and will send the report to your physician within 24 hours. Your physician will discuss the results with you and explain how the findings relate to your health.