Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a different way of “seeing” inside the body. It uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create a clear picture of internal body structures. Having an MRI doesn’t hurt and is extremely safe. 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: pacemaker, defibrillator, brain surgery, heart surgery or any type of implant.
Certain examinations will require more or different instructions as recommended by your doctor. This is meant to be a general guideline only, and each patient should always follow the directions of his/her personal physician.
- Unless a contrast agent is needed to enhance the ability of the MRI to see into your body, no special preparation is needed.
- You will not be able to wear anything metallic during the exam, so it would be best to leave watches, jewelry, belts or anything else containing metal at home. You will also be asked to remove hearing aids and dentures for the exam. Even some cosmetics contain metals, so don’t wear make-up when you go for your procedure.
- It is very important to let your doctor know if you have asthma or have had any previous allergic reactions to a contrast medium, iodine or shellfish.
- Please notify us if you are or could be pregnant.
- Eat normally and take medications as usual, unless your doctor has given you other instructions. You may find it easier to relax if you avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages before the exam.
- Very anxious patients and small children may be given a sedative to help them relax and lie still during the exam. If you think you will require a sedative, you will need to bring someone along to accompany you home.
- It is important that you lie as still as possible during the exam. Any movement during this time will blur the picture.
You will be asked to lie down on a comfortable padded table (usually on your back). The table will gently guide you into the magnet. While the scanner is operating, you will hear some humming and occasional thumping sounds. However, you can listen to relaxing music of your choice during the exam, which will minimize the noise of the machine. There is an intercom system built into the machine and you will always be able to communicate with the medical staff during the procedure. It is always important, during any test, to let the staff know immediately if you feel any discomfort. After the exam, a report will be sent to your doctor who will discuss the results with you.
The exam usually takes 30 – 60 minutes.