What is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to provide remarkably clear and detailed pictures of the body, including the spine, brain, joints, and internal organs. MRI can also be used to evaluate blood vessels anywhere in the body by using special, non-invasive imaging techniques known as Magnetic Resonance Angiography or MRA. And because MRI does not use ionizing radiation, there are none of the fears regarding radiation exposure.

An MRI is a painless exam that requires minimal preparation. It can lead to early detection and treatment of many health issues including; spinal injuries, sports related injuries, and many joint problems. MRI is also used to diagnose cancer as well as many other serious ailments.

About Your MRI

For your MRI, you will be placed on a padded table in the appropriate position for your specific exam. Our technologists will make you as comfortable as possible, with extra padding or blankets when needed. You will also be given some sort of hearing protection due to the loud noises made during the scanning process. Depending on the specific exam you are having, you will be provided with either music headphones or small foam earplugs.

The table will then be moved into the scanner and your exam will begin. During the scanning process, the scanner will make a loud knocking or banging sound, much like a jackhammer. This is the normal operation of the MRI equipment. Because MRI is a very motion sensitive test, you will be encouraged to hold perfectly still during the exam. Our technologists will talk to you periodically throughout the exam to make you aware of any table motion that will occur or to let you know how much longer your exam will be. The entire scan should take between 20-40 minutes depending on your specific exam.

Some MRI exams require an injection of a contrast medium to enhance certain tissues or highlight certain organs or abnormalities. This is determined by the radiologist, and involves our technologist starting an IV prior to your exam or using a butterfly needle at some point part-way through your exam. As the contrast is administered, you may feel a slight warming sensation throughout your body. And while reactions to contrast are possible they are very rare in MRI. If you have any question regarding the contrast injection feel free to ask our staff.