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MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.
MRI scans do not use X-Rays or radioactive materials of any kind. MRI scans are used to examine virtually any area of the body—organs like
the kidneys, as well as bone, muscle, connective tissues, brain or spine. Your healthcare provider may request an MRI to:
- Detect tumors.
- Examine your liver, kidneys, reproductive system, or other organs for disorders or abnormalities.
- Examine other body functions as recommended by your healthcare provider, depending on your specific situation.
MRI of the breast can detect breast conditions that other imaging cannot and is used as a supplemental tool for detecting and staging breast cancer and other breast abnormalities. If cancer is detected, breast MRI helps to locate additional tumors in the same or opposite breast and can provide detailed information to be used when making treatment decisions.
An MRI exam is painless but can be noisy. You will be asked to lie down on the exam table and will be given either earplugs or a music headset to wear. Specialized receivers will be placed over the area of the body to be imaged. The table will slide you into the center of the magnetic field. You will hear some humming and thumping noises which are normal. These noises will last several minutes with pauses in between. Your test might last from 30 to 45 minutes. The technologist will be able to hear, see and speak to you during the exam.
Preparing for an MRI Scan
There are no special diet restrictions for an MRI.
Some exams require an injection through the vein in the arm, but this injection does not contain iodine or radioactive material. The small injection of MRI contrast agent (gadolinium) helps the doctor better visualize organs and other structures. This agent can also demonstrate how well your organs are functioning.
For Your Safety
Due to the strong magnetic field generated during the MRI scan, metallic surgical implants or metal fragments (from old war wounds for example) can interfere with the test and can actually be hazardous to your safety. Please let us know if there is a chance you might be pregnant. If you have any of the following, please let us know before scheduling:
- Aneurysm Clips
- Cardiac pacemaker
- Wire sutures
- Bone rods, pins, or plates
- Screws, nails, or clips
- Insulin pump
- Joint replacement
- Cardiac Defibrillator
- Renal transplant
- Harrington rod
- Artificial heart valves
- Radiation seeds
When you arrive for your test, you will be asked to remove any jewelry, hair pins and other metallic objects. You also may need to change into a hospital gown if your clothing contains metal zippers or snaps.