What is MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a technique that enables physicians to see internal organs without using surgery or X-rays. MRI does not use radiation like traditional X-ray modalities. A sophisticated computer enhances images created by a magnetic field and radiofrequency waves. These images are transformed into cross-sectional views of the organ or area being studied. In some cases, the injection of a contrast agent may be needed to enhance the detail of particular body parts.
Why might I need an MRI Scan?
MRI is very useful in diagnosing a variety of conditions and disorders affecting:
- The central nervous system: the soft tissue parts of the brain and spinal cord.
- Orthopedic structures: internal bone architecture and joints, such as the knee, shoulder, jaw, wrist, and ankles. MRI is also the best imaging technique for cartilage, muscle, and ligaments.
- Abdominal and pelvic organs: the pancreas, liver, adrenal glands, and reproductive organs
- Blood vessels: arteries and veins
What to Expect
Preparation: Usually there are no special preparations required for an MRI scan. You can continue to take medications as usual.
Metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field of an MRI scanner. It is very important that we know about any metallic devices that you may have in your body. These devices may prevent you from having an MRI scan. Please let us know if you have any of the following:
- Internal electronic device
- Metal surgical clips or aneurysm clips
- Artificial joints/ metal rods
- Metal in eyes (which may have resulted from sheet metal work)
All metal objects must be left outside the examination room. Such objects include:
If you are wearing any clothing containing metal, such as zippers, snaps, underwire bras or bra hooks, you will be asked to undress and put on an exam gown.
Procedure: You will lie on a table that positions you within the MRI unit, a large open-ended tube that will surround your body while you are being scanned. A trained and licensed radiologic technologist will observe you from another room, talking with you via intercom, while he or she operates the computer that controls the MRI unit.
You will hear some tapping noises, as the computer generates the MRI images; during this time you should lie motionless so that the images are as clear as possible. If you feel uncomfortable, please tell the technologist, who can hear you at all times. We will provide you with earplugs or headphones.