What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an advanced technology used to view inside the human body in 3-D (three-dimensionally). MRI utilizes a huge magnet, radio waves and a sophisticated computer to make visible the tiniest details of your body. It is used to diagnose a wide variety of conditions from brain disease and cancerous tumors to herniated discs and a variety of soft tissue injuries.
What is Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)?
Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is similar to MRI and provides your radiologist with a detailed 3-D analysis of your vascular system and major blood vessels.
What can I expect prior to the test?
Getting an MRI is a simple procedure. There is no need to put on a gown as long as you wear clothing without metal (zippers, snaps, clasps, etc.). If necessary, a gown will be provided. In some cases, you may require an injection of contrast material to help certain body parts show up better.
It is very important to arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment so you can complete the necessary paperwork. The paper work will be a series of questions, and it is very important that you notify us if you have any of the following:
- Aneurysm clip
- Heart valve
- Implanted defibulator
- Metal fragments in eyes
- Bone stimulator
- Cardiac or renal stents
- Hearing implants (Cochlear/Stapes)
- Shrapnel anywhere in the body.
All patients will be checked for metallic items on or within the body. Certain items such as those listed above may not be safe for the MR scanner. Please check with the MRI Department or your physician prior to coming to the hospital. The MRI Department can be reached at (859) 301-6649.
Will it hurt?
No. The technician will have you lay in the most comfortable position possible. Since MRI is "non-invasive", the exam is painless. However, if your doctor requests a contrast agent, you may receive a simple shot prior to or during the exam.
Does the machine use X-rays?
No. MRI uses a powerful magnet in conjunction with radiofrequency waves to generate images of your internal organs and structures. There is no ionizing (X-Ray) radiation.
How long will the exam take?
Typically, an MRI exam can last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. However, this can vary based on which area of your body is being studied. It is always best to allow extra time in case the exam lasts longer than expected.
Are there circumstances that could prevent me from having a MRI?
Yes. Certain metallic items such as pacemakers, aneurysm clips, neurostimulators and shrapnel cannot be safely scanned in the MR environment. Any patients who have an injury to the eye with metal, surgical pins, plates or other type of metal implants should contact the testing facility in advance to confirm you are safe to scan.
All patients will also be required to provide a health history upon arrival explaining any metallic implants you may have.
If you are unsure if something is safe to scan or not, always ask. A trained Technologist or Radiologist will follow safety guidelines to determine if a particular metal implant is approved to be in an MR environment.