FAQs about Magnetic Resonance Imaging
What is an MRI?
MRI is short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI is an advanced technology that lets your doctor see internal organs, blood vessels, muscles, joints, and more - without x-rays, pain or surgery. MRI is very safe; in fact, it makes use of natural forces and has no known harmful effects! It is important to know that MRI will NOT expose you to any ionizing radiation and does not involve any pain.
How does the MRI machine work?
The MRI machine creates a very precise magnetic field. Radio frequency waves can then be used to cause hydrogen protons in the body to "vibrate" or resonate. The energy of this vibration is collected with an antennae (called a "coil") in much the same fashion as your radio antennae receives the signal from a local FM station. This signal is then organized by computer into a detailed electronic image of the anatomy. This image is stored as a computer file and can be printed on film, or viewed on a computer screen.
Why get an MRI exam?
MRI provides exquisitely detailed images of your body unobtainable through other procedures. MRI can provide very early detection of many conditions, so treatment can be more effective. The excellent quality of MRI images can provide the best possible information if surgery is required. If there is an abnormality (positive exam findings) MRI can show the location, size and extent of these abnormalities.
How do I prepare for My MRI exam?
Prior to your MRI appointment, follow your normal daily routine, including meals and any prescribed medication. Please be prepared to remove ALL metallic objects including jewelry and clothing. The technologist will show you a secure place to store your personal belongings. It is critical that you arrive at our MRI center 30 minutes prior to your scheduled start time. Although the actual test will typically last 15-20 minutes per area examined, plan for one hour in your schedule since there are "before and after protocols" that MUST be followed for your safety. Wear comfortable clothes and no jewelry. Our technologist will then prepare you for your examination and answer any questions you may have. The MRI unit is optimized for your comfort. Pillows and pads are available to make you comfortable on the table, which help you lay still, resulting in sharper pictures. The technologist will have you in full view at all times, and you will be able to communicate at anytime via a 2-way intercom.
Are there restrictions with MRI exams?
YES. MRI machines use a strong magnetic field, which will move metal objects made with iron or steel, and can affect the function of electronic devices. You will be asked to fill out an MRI Screening Form to help us avoid any hazards to assure your safety. It is very important to tell the technologist (or better yet, call us ahead of time) if you have a pacemaker, aneurysm clips, cochlear implants, TENS (transcutaneous electrical neurostimulator) unit, steel surgical staples or clips.
How do I pay for the MRI exam?
Most health insurance plans cover MRI examinations; managed care plans may require pre-authorization or an order from your principle health care provider. We will help you verify the extent of your insurance so that everything is ready prior to your arrival. Payment of charges NOT covered by your insurance is required at the time of your visit. VISA, MasterCard, Discover Card and American Express are accepted. Please call us if you have any questions regarding insurance coverage.
How will I learn about my MRI results?
The images from your examination will be interpreted by a one of our Radiologists who has expertise in MRI. The results of your examination will be communicated to your physician, who will discuss them with you.
MRI Studies Offered:
- Brain, Pituitary, MS Protocol, Orbits
- Fingers, Hand, Elbow (dedicated hand coil)
- Spine (Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar)
- Soft Tissue Neck
- Toes/Foot Ankle
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