MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and is used to create detailed 2D/3D images of your anatomy. An MRI scan is a painless radiology technique that has the advantage of avoiding radiation exposure. These images are made by using a powerful magnet to align the protons in your body, then a radiofrequency will be pulsed on and off to detect energy released by those protons. This process is very safe and non-invasive giving your physician the ability to detect structural abnormalities of the body.
What can you expect? During some MRI’s, a contrast dye may be injected to help create clearer, more precise images. Manchester Memorial Hospital’s new Orion MRI machine has the largest portfolio of non-contrast imaging sequences. What this means, is some MRI sequences require a contrast injection, however, because of this new technology and non-contrast imaging sequences, now Manchester Memorial Hospital’s MRI can get many images without the contrast and obtain the similar results as if they were done with MRI contrast. Many tests with this new Orion MRI technology do not require the IV contrast, but your physician will make that determination.
Next, you will be asked to lay down on a special table and positioned with pillows and cushions by our friendly staff. Once in position, this table will then move into a large doughnut shaped MRI machine, that now has nearly twice the space capacity for maximum comfort. Once inside, you will see how our noise reduction technology makes your testing experience as pleasant, and as silent, as possible. Patients are also welcomed to listen to their favorite music while having their exam performed. The MRI machine opening is very wide and short in comparison to other MRI units, giving you more room during the exam and less claustrophobic thoughts and sensations. You can expect the procedure to last between 15 -45 minutes. You will be able to talk to the technologist who is conducting the test at any time during your exam.
MRI’s can be considered scary and overwhelming if you have never had one before. To ease your worry, below are some frequently asked questions that can help you prepare for your MRI experience, should you have one:
Q: Why should I get an MRI test?
A: An MRI can provide a precise and accurate scan of the problem area to aid in diagnosis. An MRI is a non-invasive way to examine your organs, tissues and skeletal system, from your head, to your toes.
Q: Is an MRI Safe?
A: Studies have concluded that an MRI test is one of the safest technologies for imaging the body. MRI’s are pain-free, provides no negative side-affects and no exposure to radiation.
Q: Is the contrast dye injected in me safe?
A: The contrast dye used is safe and enhances the quality of the images, which will help your doctor during diagnosis. The contrast dye does not stay inside you forever, it gets absorbed and removed by your body. Some patients may have an allergic reaction to contrast dye so please talk to your doctor about your history of allergic reactions before your appointment. Many tests with this new Orion MRI technology do not require the IV contrast, but your physician will make that determination.
Q: What about metal and the MRI equipment?
A: Metals and MRI’s do not mix since an MRI machine is one big, strong magnet. Please let your doctor know of any metallic materials you may have in your body, such as surgical clips, artificial joints, metallic bone plates, etc. Patients who have artificial heart valves, a pacemaker, chemotherapy or insulin pumps, metal clips or chips in or around the eyeball cannot be scanned with an MRI.
Q: What should you do before having an MRI exam?
A: Before your MRI test, please remove of any external metal objects on the body before entering the MRI room, such as jewelry, watches, keys, hair clips, dentures, wigs, loose change, bank cards, etc. Also, talk to your doctor if you have tattoos or permanent makeup, as some inks may contain metal.
Q: When do I receive the results from my MRI scan?
A: After the scan is complete, the image will be saved and evaluated by a board-certified radiologist. The radiologist will then send the results to your ordering doctor who will contact you directly to review your results and next steps.