MRI is a safe, painless procedure used to create detailed images of internal body structures without using X-ray technology. MRI can be used to diagnose a variety of conditions, from a soft tissue injury, such as a torn ligament, to a tumor. MRI is also an effective way to examine and assess the function of organs such as the brain, pelvic organs, and spine.
What Is MRI?
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a non-invasive diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a large magnetic field, radio waves, and a sophisticated computer system to create detailed, intricate images of the different organs and structures inside the body. It produces these images without the use of ionized radiation (X-rays), making it a safe technique with no known risks.
MRI can be used for almost any part of the body and can cover large sections of the body in a relatively short time. It can assist physicians in diagnosing many different diseases and abnormalities, such as cancer tumors in their very early stages. MRI is also very useful for studying the spinal cord and organs such as the brain, heart, and eyes.
An MRI scanner is a large, hollow cylinder that is open at both ends. It can be daunting and feel claustrophobic for some patients. An open, high-field MRI is ideal for pediatric patients, patients with claustrophobia, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress syndrome, and for those who are obese. Its wide, open design means patients feel more comfortable and less enclosed during the scan, compared with standard tunnel scanners.
Due to the strong magnetic field used during the scan, all-metal items need to be removed prior to the scan (such as jewelry and clothing with metal fasteners). Some conditions may prevent an individual from getting the scan done, such as if you are pregnant, have a pacemaker, a history of kidney problems, or have an implanted drug infusion device. Your radiologist will advise you whether the procedure is appropriate for you.
What To Expect During An MRI?
The MRI scanner is well lit, and has a fan to ensure you are at a comfortable temperature. You will be required to lie still during the MRI scan but will be made as comfortable as possible with the use of pads, a pillow, and supports. Depending on the body part that is being examined, you may be instructed to hold your breath for up to 30 seconds at certain times during the scan. You may be required to use a receiving device, which is placed behind or around the body part to be scanned. It acts like an aerial and can help to improve clarity by detecting tiny radio signals emitted from the body during the scan.
Some MRI and MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography) examinations require an injection of intravenous contrast media to enhance the quality of the images of organs and blood vessels. The injection is administered in the scanner prior to the scan start. Non-contrast MRA scans are available for high-risk patients, such as those who are renal-compromised and not eligible for an MRA due to the potential risk associated with the contrast agent. Non-contrast MRAs eliminate the risk while allowing physicians to clearly visualize vascular structures and flowing blood.
The time required to complete an MRI varies depending on the area of the body being scanned, the size of the area, the number of images needed, and the specific procedure requested by your physician. However, it typically takes 30-60 minutes to complete on average. If you cannot lie still for that length of time due to pain and/or anxiety, sedation or pain medication may be necessary prior to your procedure, which will need to be discussed with your physician.
The MRI scanner can be loud and make unusual banging noises when taking pictures, but you will be given earphones and/or earplugs to wear during the procedure to minimize the noise, and music may also be available depending on the type of scanner being used. Although you will be alone in the exam room, your MRI operator will be able to see you at all times, and there is an intercom in the scanner, allowing you to talk between scans. You will also be given a call bell which you can use if you require assistance.
Most MRI examinations are painless, but some patients find it uncomfortable to remain still. You may also find the body part being scanned feel slightly warm, but this should not cause pain or discomfort.
MRI Services in Ohio
If you are looking for an experienced and high-quality place to get an MRI done, look no further than Wooster Community Hospital. Our experts are very well experienced in performing diagnostic and imaging testing and would love to help you. You may contact us at (330) 263-8660 to make an appointment or request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!