Department of Radiology: MRI FAQ
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Q. What is MRI?
A. Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a tool that has revolutionized the field of diagnostic
radiology. MRI uses radio waves and a powerful magnetic field to produce cross-sectional
images of internal body structures. An MRI is a painless procedure that can clearly map out
soft tissue, producing images that are extremely precise without exposing patients to
radiation or radioactive solutions. An MRI can provide physicians with vital information to
diagnose diseases or disorders so that proper treatment can be initiated promptly often
eliminating the need or more invasive procedures.
Q. Why have MRI?
A. MRI is particularly valuable in studying the brain and spinal cord diseases; revealing and
diagnosing tumors and metastatic diseases; providing detailed images of the cardiovascular
system; examining joints and soft tissues; imaging abdominal organs – especially any
abnormal masses or aneurysms; detecting abnormalities of the neck, abdomen and pelvis;
and musculoskeletal problems.
Q. Why come to the Medical Center for MRI?
A. In addition to one Siemens MAGNETOM Vision and one GE 1.5 Tesla Echospeed MRI,
we are home to the latest generation short-bore MRI, the Siemens MAGNETOM Symphony.
The Medical Center is committed to making available the best state-of-the-art equipment, the shortest wait-time for patients, and the fastest turn-a-round time in getting the results back to physicians, so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. We also have the only FDA- cleared MRI system dedicated solely to breast imaging for the clinical detection and management of breast disease called the Aurora®.
Our MRIs can accommodate most large people, have comfortable beds, air conditioning, special lighting and a music system, and allow the anesthesiologists to sedate & monitor patients. We also house machines designed to comfort patients with claustrophobia.
Our caring staff includes highly trained MRI registered technologists as well as Board
Certified and Fellowship trained radiologists who understand patient anxiety and take the
extra time to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. The MRI Department is
recognized as an accredited site by the American College of Radiology.
Q. What can I expect during the procedure?
A. MRI is a painless procedure. Most scans take between 20 to 45 minutes. Our technologists
will explain the procedure and remain to answer any questions. Patients must lie still for the
duration of the test on a comfortable padded table. The short-bore magnets allow patients
the comfort of gently gliding into the MRI's short, flared opening cylinder, thus usually
eliminating the claustrophobic effects of longer magnets. Sometimes an injection of a
contrast material is required. Patients are encouraged to discuss concerns about the test
with their doctor and the technologist.
Q. How do I prepare for MRI?
A. There is usually no special preparation necessary before having an MRI. Food and drink
intake is usually not restricted before the procedure. However, patients will be asked to
remove all metallic objects, such as jewelry, glasses and clothing with zippers, before the
Some people should not receive an MRI. Although there is no evidence that a hazard exists,
MRI is generally avoided during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Nonetheless,
in certain critical cases, an MRI scan may be recommended. Braces or a permanent bridge
may distort images that are taken around the mouth. People with metal implants, such
pacemakers, aneurysm clips and implanted stimulating devices cannot have an MRI.
Patients should discuss these health issues with their doctor.
• Wear comfortable clothing without zippers such as a sweat suit
• Wear little or no makeup
• Bring along reading material for the waiting room
• Consider leaving jewelry, including watch, at home - all jewelry must be removed for
• Bring a favorite CD or tape to be listened to during the procedure
Q. What if I still have questions about MRI?
A. For more information, call the Department of Radiology at 201-894-3400.