MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
What is an MRI?
MRI is an advanced non-invasive imaging test that uses a magnetic field, radio waves, and a sophisticated computer to generate images of the body’s anatomy. It does not use x-rays (radiation) to obtain images, so it can be used harmlessly for children and women who are pregnant.
What are MRIs used for?
MRI is the preferred diagnostic modality for neurological problems, including traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, developmental anomalies, stroke, dementia, and the cause of unexplained headaches. It is a better test than CT for evaluating ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissues within the musculoskeletal system.
What should I expect during an MRI test?
You will not feel anything during an MRI. However, the magnet produces a repetitive tapping sound, and you may be offered earplugs or earphones/music to help block out the noise caused by the machine. If special instructions are needed, the technologist will instruct you through a two-way intercom. For some MRI tests, an intravenous contrast injection is required to obtain a clearer image.
How do I prepare for an MRI?
Before your MRI, you may eat normally and take your medications, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. You will need to remove all metallic objects as they can be dangerous to patients inside the magnetic field. If you have metal implants, such as plates or screws, you will not be able to receive an MRI. You will change into a hospital gown and be asked to lie on a comfortable gantry. The gantry will be moved by the technologist into the machine to obtain the images.
Before your test examination, please inform the technologist if you:
- Are pregnant
- Have kidney or liver problems
- Have any implanted medical devices, metal fragments, or shrapnel
- Are anxious or claustrophobic in confined spaces