Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
What Is It?
MRI uses a powerful magnet, low intensity radio frequency pulses and computer technology to create detailed images of the soft tissues, muscles, nerves and bones in your body. In many instances, it replaces the need for X-rays, hospitalization and exploratory surgery. There are no known side effects of MRI, and it uses no radiation.
The MRI causes your body’s hydrogen atoms to align themselves in such a way as to receive radio signals from the magnetic resonance system. When your body receives these signals, it reacts by sending its own radio signals back to the machine. It is this radio frequency transmitted by your body that is computer-processed and turned into highly detailed images.
There are two types of MRI scanners, high-field and open configuration and Providence is proud to provide both high-field short bore and the area’s only High Field Open technologies. With a high-field MRI, the short bore in which you lie is cylindrical, and the body part to be examined is placed in the center of the magnet. Open configuration MRI systems have no sides to accommodate larger and claustrophobic patients.
In general, there are no special preparations to follow before your exam. Because MRI uses a strong magnetic field, metal objects may interfere with the scan. We ask that you leave your valuables at home. If needed for your convenience, we provide a secure location to store your keys, jewelry and other valuables during the exam. We ask that you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, free of zippers, snaps, etc. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown for image quality and safety reasons.
Please check the following list carefully. All metallic/surgical implants must be assessed for safety before undergoing any MRI procedure. Common implants that may not be safe for MRI procedures include certain makes and models of the following:
- Aneurysm clips in the brain
- Inner ear (cochlear) implants
- Implanted spinal cord stimulator
- Metallic implants
- Metal fragments in one or both eyes
Also, please alert our staff if you:
- Have had anything artificial implanted in your body.
- Have removable dental devices
- Wear a hearing aid(s)
- Have ever been a metal worker
- Are pregnant or think you might be
- Are breastfeeding
- Are diabetic
- Are on dialysis
- Have a kidney disorder
- Have anemia or any diseases that affect red blood cells
If you have any questions about your eligibility to have an MRI scan, consult with your physician. You may also call MRI. MRI staff will be happy to answer your questions & ease your mind regarding concerns you may have.
Certain types of MRI scans require the use of a safe contrast media. This contrast media, which is given during the exam, enhances blood vessels and highlights certain body parts.
During the Exam
While the MRI test is being conducted, you will lie on a table with the body part of interest placed in the center of the magnet. If you are having a high-field MRI, the inside of the magnet bore is cylindrical and is much shorter than traditional MRI scanners.
If you are having an open MRI, the magnet opening is larger and rectangular shaped without sides. Often times, a family member or friend may accompany you during the exam.
You will be able to communicate with your technologist through a patient intercom system during the entire exam. You should remain relaxed and as still as possible. You will hear a knocking sound from the MRI system that ranges from barely audible to quite noticeable. Hearing protection or headphones will be provided when necessary. You will have an option of listening to music of your choice during most of the exams. MRI exams take 30-to-40 minutes to complete, and you may resume normal activities afterward.
A radiologist will interpret your exam, and the results will be sent to your physician as soon as possible.
MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging