Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio frequency waves and a strong magnetic field rather than X-rays to provide remarkably clear and detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. MRI has proven valuable for the diagnosis of a broad range of pathologic conditions, including cancer, heart and vascular disease, stroke, joint and musculoskeletal disorders.
MRI allows evaluation of some body structures that may not be as visible with other imaging methods. Because MRI can give such clear pictures of soft-tissue structures near and around bones, it is the most sensitive exam for spinal and joint problems.
What to expect during your exam
During your MRI, you will lie motionless on a comfortable padded table. The table will slide into the MRI machine. During most MRI exams, you will hear loud thumping noises or knocking sounds while the magnet is working. If the noise from the machine is uncomfortable for you, we will provide headphones. Even with headphones, you will be able to speak with the technologist by intercom if you have a question or concern about the test. You must lie as still as possible so we can obtain the best picture. Typically, an MRI exam lasts about 20 to 30 minutes; however, the exam time can vary based upon the specific nature of your individual study. You will be reminded to tell the MRI technologist if you feel noticeable discomfort from the contrast dye. It is normal to feel a cool sensation at the injection site that will subside when the injection is finished.
Preparation for your exam
Our staff will instruct you as to whether or not your scan will involve contrast. Take your usual prescribed medicine. You should wear comfortable clothes that do not include any metal, like sweat pants. If that is not a convenient option, we will provide you with gown to change into in our private dressing rooms.