MRI scanning uses radio waves, a large electromagnet and computers to generate images. Certain adjustments in the equipment are made to image the same regions in different ways to look for different types of abnormality. An MRI machine is composed of a large box with a central tube into which the patient is placed. For some individuals, the tube may feel confining and some patients therefore require sedatives in order to allow them to remain still. Studies often take a total of 30 to 60 minutes complete. Gadolinium intravenous contrast is often given which allows our radiologist to visualize certain organs and disease conditions better.
A pregnancy test may be necessary prior to your MRI exam. The risks to a fetus are unknown. Therefore, pregnant women should not have an MRI exam unless the potential benefit from the MRI is determined to outweigh the potential risks. If you have minor claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) or anxiety, you may want to request a prescription for a mild sedative from your physician. If you have an allergy of any kind such as hay fever, hives, allergic asthma, or allergy to food or drugs, please indicate that on your history form as rarely, some individuals can have an allergy to gadolinium. However, gadolinium does not contain iodine and is less likely to cause an allergic reaction as compared to the CT contrast that contains iodine. The technologist and radiologist should also know if you have any significant health problems. Some conditions, such as kidney disease and sickle cell anemia, may prevent you from having an MRI with contrast material.
Metal and electronic objects can interfere with the MRI’s magnetic field and are not allowed in the exam room. These items include:
- Jewelry, credit cards, watches, hearing aids, all of which can be damaged.
- Pins, hairpins, metal zippers and similar metallic items, which can distort MRI images.
- Removable dental work.
- Pens, pocketknives and eyeglasses.
In most cases, an MRI exam is safe for patients with metal implants, except for a few types.
Tell the technologist if you have medical or electronic devices in your body, such as artificial heart valves, implanted drug infusion ports, implanted electronic devices, artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses, implanted nerve stimulators, metal pins, screws, plates or surgical staples.
Metal objects used in orthopedic surgery usually pose no risk during MRI. However, a recently placed artificial joint may require the use of another imaging procedure such as CT. If there is any question, an x-ray may be taken to detect the presence of any metal objects.
Common uses of MR imaging include the following:
- Body MR imaging is used to detect and further characterize lesions in kidney, liver, pancreas, spleen and adrenal glands. MRI is also often used to characterized ovarian masses/cysts as well as uterine fibroids.
- Musculoskeletal MR imaging is used to evaluate, diagnose, and monitor treatment response of the body joints, spine, and soft tissues of the extremities.
- Breast MR imaging supplements mammography and ultrasound imaging for the diagnosis of breast abnormalities.
Click below for additional information:
MRCP (Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography)
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)