What is an MRI?
MRI is an advanced medical imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves instead of X-ray to image different parts of the body. It is an easy, safe and comfortable exam. It provides an excellent way to diagnose diseases of the brain, spine, skeleton, chest, abdomen, pelvis and blood vessels.
The MRI exam requires you to lie very still on a table that moves into a scanner housing a large magnet. During the procedure, you may communicate with your technologist by intercom. They will explain the various noises that you will hear. The procedure lasts 20–60 minutes, depending on the number and types of images needed. In some cases, your physician may order the administration of intravenous contrast dye to enable visualization of some specific images.
- Eat normally. Take your usual medications unless your doctor gives you other instructions.
- Bring any pertinent X-rays, CT scans or previous MRI exams.
- Bring your insurance identification card or any other relevant insurance information.
- Bring your order from your physician.
MRI is very safe. There are no known health risks associated with the magnetic field or the radio waves used by the machine. However, some special circumstances limit the use of a magnetic field, so it is important for you to tell us if any of the following apply to you or someone accompanying you into the exam room:
- cardiac pacemaker or artificial heart valve
- metal plate, pin or other metallic implant
- intrauterine device, such as Copper-7 IUD
- insulin pump or other infusion pump
- aneurysm clips
- previous gunshot wound
- inner ear implant
- ever been a metal worker (had metal in eye)
- if you are pregnant
Any metallic substance, on or in you, can affect the quality of the diagnostic images. It can also cause discomfort or injury when placed in the magnetic field and may exclude you from the exam.