Magnetic Resonance Imaging/Angiography
What Is an MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an exciting
new technology which allows your doctor to have the clearest possible
look at your internal anatomy. MRI does
use x-rays or radiation. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field and radio
waves to provide computerized images, which appear as "slices" of the
anatomy, for the radiologist to determine the differences between healthy
and abnormal tissue. Your doctor will use
this information to help determine the course of your treatment.
Why Is MRI Performed?
MRI is performed to provide information
about internal tissue that cannot be viewed through x-ray. With MRI,
the smallest structures in the body can be imaged.
What Can I Expect During An MRI Examination?
A technologist will explain the MRI procedure
to you when you arrive. You will be asked to remove and store any objects
containing metal so that there is no interference with the magnet. These
include coins, watches and other jewelry, hair clips, keys, credit cards,
and dentures. Depending on the part of your body to be scanned, you
may be asked to change into a gown. You will be asked to lie flat on
a padded table.
patients, but not all, need an injection of contrast as part of the
MR examination. When the radiologist decides that contrast is necessary,
a pharmaceutical agent, called Gadolinium is administered. The Gadolinium
contrast is used to make specific organs, blood vessels, or tissues
stand out. This helps highlight the structures to better assess for
disease or injury. The referring doctor provides us with information about each patientís specific medical condition. The
decision to use, or not use an injection of contrast is made on an individual
basis, based on all the information, and the body part being examined.
If Gadolinium is necessary, a small needle
(a butterfly) is inserted into a vein in the arm or hand, and removed
immediately after the injection. As with any medication, there is a
very slight chance of an allergic reaction. Side effects are very uncommon
During the exam you may hear a tapping noise.
This is normal and is created when some of the parts of the magnet (the
gradient coils) are turned on and off, very rapidly, to measure the
MRI signal that comes from the patientís body. The knocking may be loud
enough to require ear plugs or head phones. During the examination,
you will be able to listen to music through the headphones, and to communicate
with the technologist at all times via intercom.
Only the portion of the body that is being
imaged must be in the center of the magnet. For example if the head
is being imaged, it must be in the magnet. If the knees are being imaged,
they must be in the center.
You should try not to move when you are
in the magnet, especially while you hear the knocking noise. It is particularly
important that you not move the body part being imaged during the study.
If you need to stretch a muscle, you may do so in between image acquisition,
when the knocking noise has stopped.
You may talk to the technologist, via intercom,
at any time during the study. Itís best to talk, however, in between
the pictures, to minimize any motion.
How Long Will My MRI Examination Take?
In our MRI Center, we offer a wide array
of examinations. Depending on the type of exam you receive, the length
of the procedure will typically be between 30 to 60 minutes. The technologist
will discuss the specifics of your exam, prior to your test
Is The MRI Examination Safe?
MRI does not use x-ray or radiation, and
does not present any apparent risks. If you are pregnant or nursing
you should consult your physician before having an MRI scan.
Our MRI technologists are certified and
our Radiologists are board certified with specialized training in MRI.
Will I Need An X-Ray?
MRI uses no radiation, but does use a very
strong magnetic field to acquire pictures. This strong magnetic field
can pull on metallic objects. For safety reasons, the MRI staff must
determine if you have metal in your body. Some patients may have small
pieces of metal in their eyes, metallic implants, prosthetic devices
that contain metal, surgical clips, or other implanted devices that
could be sensitive to the magnetic field. Occasionally, x-rays may be
necessary, to screen for metallic objects, prior to the MRI.
Is It Safe To Have An MRI If I Have Dental
MRI will not affect the fillings. However,
occasionally, the metal within the fillings will distort the images,
if the scan is of the facial area.
Can I Have An MRI If I Am Pregnant?
MRI is considered a safe test, and there
is no ionizing radiation used. However, conclusive evidence showing
how safe MRI is for pregnant women and the fetus, is not yet available.
MRI is generally not performed during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy
Generally, we do not perform MRI on pregnant
women, unless there is a strong medical indication. Prior to the test,
you may want to discuss this with your obstetrician, and the radiologist.
Depending on the condition, other tests, including ultrasound, may be
available to diagnose a medical condition.
Who Cannot Have An MRI?
Almost everyone can have an MRI with complete
safety. The technologist will ask certain questions about your medical
history to ensure the best possible results from your exam.
Patients with the following conditions
are not candidates for MRI:
Patients with cardiac pacemakers, neuro-stimulators
or other electrical devices in their bodies.
Patients with cerebral aneurysm clips
are sometimes excluded.
Pregnant women are generally not recommended
for MRI scans. Be sure to inform your physician and the MRI Center
staff if you are pregnant.
If I Am Nursing An Infant And Have Had
An MRI With Contrast, Can I Resume Nursing After The Exam?
We recommend that patients wait for 24 hours
after receiving the Gadolinium injection, before resuming breast feeding.
Patients may wish to pump breast milk prior to the exam, and store it
for use during this one day period. You may wish to discuss this further
with your doctor, or the radiologist.
Do I Need A Referral (Prescription) To
Have My MRI Examination?
Yes, your doctor must provide a referral
(prescription) in order for you to receive a examination. In addition,
some insurance carriers or HMOís require a precertification. Please
discuss this with your doctor and your insurance company or HMO prior
to your test.
When Will I Know The Results Of My Examination?
Preliminary results will be sent promptly
to your physician and a detailed written report of the procedure, findings,
and results will follow within several days. Your physician will then
call you to discuss the results. Urgent results will be telephoned immediately
to your doctor.
What Should I Do to Prepare for an Magnetic
Resonance Imaging (MRI) Exam?
No special preparation is needed for the
exam. Eat normally and take any medications that you usually take.
If you are having a brain MRI please do
not wear any makeup as it may interfere with the exam.
If you are having an exam with contrast,
please do not eat or drink 2 hours before your exam.
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